Dear 2020, You were a difficult one (which is no surprise) & warrant a letter of permanent reminding to the lessons, challenges, & joys you have birthed. But first, let me start with GRATITUDE… you have exposed, strengthened, & corrected the inner pieces of my soul I would have rather ignored.
+ You required me to DIG DEEP (far beyond what I thought manageable) only to discover a strength & reliance I didn’t know I had. Thank you.
+ You forced me to LISTEN more intently to stories of injustice, indifference, pain, and suffering. Thank you.
+ You cultivated a deep well of GRATITUDE for my people…. the people I have been painfully vulnerable, present, and honest with. The ones who have seen the struggle; who have offered grace and mercy and presence and support through it all. Thank you.
But oh 2020, you have also been CRUEL. You have taken lives, have ushered in division, & you have shattered some of the holiest, well intended plans.
There has been pain and fear and worry and lots of lamenting… to not acknowledge such emotions would be dishonest. But as I look to a New Year, and (hopefully) a new season, Let me be reminded of the GOOD. The reminders, the lessons, the habits worth carrying into this new season. Let these lessons propel me to carry, encourage, & cling to what needs holding onto but also be brave enough to shed what warrants releasing. & Oh dear Jesus, please bless me with the discernment to know the difference. Here are my vows for 2021…
// Lessons worthy of keeping //
1. EMBRACE (HOLY) INTERRUPTIONS: As I write these words, my girls are currently playing with the newly found walkie talkies running up and down the stairs yelling “roger” every 5 seconds… as my ears (and mind) cringe from the constant stream of noise… when I pause to listen to the millions of “rogers” in their cute little voices, I am reminded what’s most/least important… Relationships. Friendship. Creativity. Presence. Intentionality… NOT wrapping up my “to-do” list for the day. I have come to find something incredibly (& painfully) sacred in these “interruptions.” They have centered me in a way similar to that of when you almost fall asleep in your favorite chair with a cozy blanket and suddenly a random noise awakes you from drifting off. So, as I close my computer and embrace the “rogers” alongside the creative minds of my daughters; I make this vow to 2021…
*I vow to (better) embrace the holy interruptions as an invitation to experience the sacred gift of relational presence.
2. FLEXIBILITY: I am constantly reminded of and am continually discovering that the “change of plans” is usually the divine, intended plan all along. I fight the change. I resist almost anything that deviates from what was perfectly orchestrated in my mind. 2020 deeply instilled (really purged) in me an openhanded approach to embrace each day, each moment at a time. That is such a simple, yet oh so challenging, approach for my type A personality…. to live MOMENT BY MOMENT. But yet, this approach has made a profound impact on my perspective & ultimately life as I have lived as though the “changes” are in fact how it was meant to me.
*I vow to hold each day… each MOMENT… with open hands embracing the plan(s) that God intended all along.
3. REMAIN COMFORTABLE WITH BEING UNCOMFORTABLE. Perhaps one of the most universal experiences of 2020 was a collective “discomfort.” Discomfort with masks, discomfort with social distancing, discomfort with civil and social unrest, discomfort with differences in political views, discomfort in difficult conversations, discomfort with zoom/FaceTime and a lack of cycle social gatherings…. discomfort has become quite the norm. But out of the discomfort, something beautiful has been birthed in me…. a settling in…or rather a comfort with discomfort. A comfort with trying new things. A comfort with listening to difficult stories and not being able to fix it. A comfort with letting go, navigating a new path, voicing my needs or beliefs or hurts or pains more honestly… and being okay if someone disagrees. I have found great comfort in these new spaces, experiences, and challenges.
*I vow to remain comfortable with being uncomfortable… for it is out of my discomfort I can better listen, communicate, & step into some new, unexpected spaces.
4. NO. This word comes naturally to some…. me, not so much. But if there’s anything a global pandemic will teach you it’s that the word “no” will HAVE to be uttered. I have limits, you have limits, we all have limits. But beyond limits or beliefs, I was reminded of the weight I had been carrying by offering out too many “yeses.” It’s a heavy, exhausting, sometimes deceptive weight that makes you think you can do, be, know, accomplish, master, & (perhaps most deceptively of all) keep everyone happy at all times. In 2020 I said “no” plenty of times…. some were far easier and more refreshing that others. Like saying, “no” to that task that has been weighing me down or saying “no” to some unrealistic plans I had in mind. But others were far more difficult… like saying “no” to someone’s expectation(s) of me. Or saying “no” to an unhealthy relationship or friendship or established boundary being pushed. Or even saying “no” to the stuff I wanted to do but knew it wasn’t BEST. What I am discovering is that the word “no” is an incredibly challenging yet freeing word.
*I vow to embrace a good “no” to preserve a better “yes.” To release the things (or people) that require me to compromise my people, my time, my calling, and my passion.
So farewell 2020. & Yes, I know I say that flippantly, but in reality I am more aware today (more than ever before) of how my hope cannot be in anything “new”… a “new” year or “new” season for we never really know what chaos a single year may hold. So instead, I shall say “HELLO.”
H e l l o to a new time, a new season, a new year to embrace, enjoy, & embark on deeply living these lessons I have vowed before you all.
I hope as you reflect on all of the hardships, joys, sorrows, lessons, challenges, and perhaps dreams this year has brought; you too will find a way to welcome & possibly mutter a humble H E L L O to this new year.