The last week of the year always does something to me. My to-do list, already full of things that need done, is suddenly bursting with exciting beginning-of-year tasks: get the new planner rolling, update the finance folders, clear off the desk and put away this year’s stuff.
It’s still Christmas, and the kids wake up each morning and pound downstairs, excited to see what’s in their stocking. (They get three gifts on Christmas Day, then a gift in their stocking for each of the 12 days of Christmas.) I try keep the decorations up until at least Epiphany Sunday, so the glow of Christmas tree lights fills the middle room when I’m up by myself (or with the baby) in the early morning hours.
And oh, I love resolutions…in a love-hate kind of way. This year, instead of making a list, I focused on one word. It’s funny how the word that came to me was “peace,” and this has been a year that’s needed a lot of it: unexpected death, health challenges on many levels, and a new baby.
Last night, I thought of how, at the beginning of this year, I wondered what the point of my life was, what God wanted me to do…with my writing, with my work at the parish, with life in general. The year started very upside-down and topsy-turvy with an unexpected death and severe health concerns in our family. But, looking back over the whole year, I do feel like I got a very clear answer from God. It wasn’t all in one sentence, but I think it’s safe to say that, while I still pray daily for guidance and direction, I have a pretty good idea of what He has in mind for me (in a general sort of sense…the specifics always seem to be up in the air, much to my prefer-to-be-planned dismay).
I’m ending this year with the beginning very much in mind, though it’s through a different lens. The fog of pain has given way to an ache, one that’s always with me but that also has given me a new perspective. I would have never guessed, at the beginning of the year, that I would be holding an infant when I rang in 2011 or that I would have not one, but two book deals as well as a few writing projects on the back burner. I couldn’t have foreseen the joys that this year brought, even amid the pain and the tears.
As we end 2010, I’m in the midst a novena to Our Lady of Sorrows. This has been the year that she has become a patron for our family, I think. This has been the year that I’ve turned to Mama Mary and gripped her hand and let her carry us. This has been the year that I’ve come to appreciate suffering (though I won’t say I like it, that I’m good at it, or that I don’t do a fair share of shaking my fist and complaining about it).
I can’t help but look at the upcoming year, with its blank slate of opportunity and possible pain, with some wonder. How did we make it through 2010? What does 2011 hold? Do I want to know?
What shall I resolve for 2011? I like the idea of one word (it was easy to remember, for one thing), and I think I’m going to approach it that way again. But what word?
What are your resolutions for 2011? Do you have one word or a list?
My word for 2011 is Trust, as in Trust in God. At 57 I am engaged for the first time in my life. My fiance is coming from another country (Canada) to marry me. But before she can do that her visa must be approved. And once she is here we will have a limited amount of time to not only be wed but to find a home for ourselves.
I live an orderly life. I haven’t always coped well with change. But I’m placing my trust in God to guide us safely through the turmoil to come.
I really love this post, Sarah, and I can relate. I was just thinking the other day about New Year’s resolutions, and what I want to “get done” in the coming year. Before having kids, I always used to go to a cafe on New Year’s Eve Day and write in my journal, taking stock of the year that was ending and looking ahead to the year to come. It’s not quite so easy to do that nowadays with my two little boy-cubs, but I do want to carve out some time for prayerful reflection as 2011 starts.
P.S. I love how you do the gift-giving in your house! It avoids the Christmas morning overload and keeps the celebration going.
I did this last year with the word, “gratitude”. Lots of things were not going the way I felt I deserved for them to go…so this word came to me after reading Arwen’s suggestion…or hearing it on a podcast…I don’t remember.
Oh, my life has been framed in a whole new way with this word. I look forward to what the Lord and the Saints will show me with my new word, “trust”.
I have a few:
Trust; along with my fiance Mike, I am putting all my trust in God for the journey we’re on.
Prayer; Mike is helping me in getting connected with Mary, as well as you are, Sarah.
Rita, gratitude is also one of my words. Thank you, Father, for showering me with so many blessings.
i’ve decided to break the year into bite size chunks…i’ve given myself goals for the 1st quarter. @ the beginning of the 2nd qtr I plan to evaluate and set goals for those upcoming 3 months. hopefully this will keep me on track.
all of that said, my main goal is to apply more focus and effort to “living the liturgical year” at home with my family. it’s all too easy to get “too busy” with life so i’m praying for the ability to keep up with it all 🙂
Acceptance. Because I realy have trouble with that. Not being in control. Not being perfect. Not being able to do all I think I should.
There is a tradition among Secular Franciscans that we gather around the time of Epiphany and each receives the name of a patron saint for the year, a maxim to follow, and a virtue to develop. This past year mine was “fortitude.”