During a typical year, I feel distinct seasons of inspiration, busyness, introspection, and rest before the whole cycle gears up again. This has not been a typical year.
2018 has been one long season of journey. Only now do I feel I’m squeezing my introspection of fall and rest of winter into one weekend. The new year on the horizon is making the rush of its presence known.
I called my mom today, just two days before I see her face to face; before the first Christmas without my grandparents. But we are not without joy!
My mom said today was the first day she thought about her mom — her namesake, her Marilyn Joy — and did not cry. “It was like I’ve been walking around in a fog,” she said.
All I could muster was a “YEP” of solidarity. I understand this metaphor so well.
But now, almost 365 days later, she felt true peace.
I thought about the Christmas carol, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and the following lyric, “let your heart be light.” It seemed fitting.
After we hung up, I embraced my southern roots and sat down to write a thank you note to dear friends we’d seen the night before. They surprised us with gifts. Thoughtful gifts. My husband and I were still talking about them over breakfast.
I sat with pen in hand, trying to sufficiently express my thanks. Closing my eyes, I was quickly taken back to January and all the feelings associated with it. But today, I was moved by the stark contrast I felt.
“If we’re going to begin practicing the presence of God for the first time today, it would help to begin by admitting the three most terrible truths of our existence: that we are so ruined, and so loved, and in charge of so little.”
January brought struggle and shame, but this chapter is ending with love and acceptance. I know the ‘so loved’ Anne Lamott speaks of.
As we all feel the crunch of this year’s end and the new year’s unknown, I’ve overheard so many conversations where people roll their eyes at and speak of what a bear 2018 was. YEP.
It’s been a tough one for sure. But, oddly enough, I’m not clamoring for the end. If there’s one thing I’ve learned (and I’ve learned quite a bit), there’s lovely in tough times; opportunity for growth and beauty in pain.
None of us know the theme of our 2019s. I’m not sure I’d even choose to skip ahead and find out! This feels like the start of wholehearted living and I want to be present to savor each moment.