I’m practicing writing with my new fountain pen, pondering the old and new, tending to a clingy kitty (who didn’t quite like that we made him sit in the car for 12 total hours and left him with a house sitter for a few days), and trying to create a few really meaningful and achievable resolutions.
My thoughts feel scattered today since it’s been a while since I blogged — the break was unplanned but needed — but I’ll do my best to focus, because I think that’s what you’re supposed to do when it’s a new year…
One trend I’ve seen in the last few years is that of choosing a word for the year. My problem with this is that I have a word hang-up that continues year to year – joy. I don’t think I’m quite ready to give it up just to have a 2012 word. I explored joy in 2011 through study, though gratitude, through mindfulness and prayer. I have a plan to elaborate on this word and its significance to me in the continuation of the story of my name, which I hinted at through this poem last month.
I’ve struggled with the word conundrum and the idea of resolutions (and the discouraging thought of once again attempting to stop biting my nails — both that I believe it may be impossible and that there are far more important resolutions to make). Yesterday an elder at our church gave an incredibly timely sermon on the last chapter of Habakkuk. He examined Habakkuk’s response to God after God reveals his plan for disciplining his people by raising up the Chaldeans to conquer them.
Habakkuk begins by appealing to God for relief. He then spends several verses recounting God’s mighty works in creating and delivering his people. He submits himself to God’s purposes (“I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me. Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us”). Then he rejoices. Though he is about to lose his livelihood, his community, and all he knows at the hands of an evil conquering people, he says, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” He knows that regardless of his limited understanding, his situation fits into the larger plan of a God who has been and will continue to be faithful. And he is able to say all this even without the knowledge of the Messiah come that we just celebrated this Christmas.
In 2012, I pray to be made like Habakkuk: bringing my laments to the God who cares for me and appeal to him for relief; remembering, always, his faithfulness and the promises he has made and kept; submitting my will to his; and rejoicing in him always, regardless of my circumstances.
Year in Review.
Last year, I got my first real teaching job. I celebrated my second wedding anniversary, signed up for a triathlon, attended my brother-in-law’s beautiful wedding, and read a lot of 7th and 8th grade core literature. I redesigned the blog and moved it to brynnabegins.com, moved into a new apartment in Portland, and began thinking deeply again about creativity and writing. I completed the aforementioned triathlon. I continued my quarter-life identity crisis. I officially launched my freelance writing business. I found out one of my best friends is pregnant! We celebrated Eric’s 26th and my 25th birthdays. I got a job teaching high school online while I work on growing my writing venture. I read and wrote a lot of poems.
The new year finds me searching. I feel a little dizzy, a lot excited, fearful. I still think the questions I’m asking might have been answerable several years ago, and it takes intentional grace-extending for me to move into fully accepting this season. I’m thankful for the removal of the numbness to creativity I felt for a couple of years up until this summer. I’m thankful that although I feel apprehensive and insecure, I feel awake.
…the sense of creative activity is the great happiness and the great proof of being alive. (Matthew Arnold)
Alive is a good way to start a new year. Here’s to living fully and celebrating the giver of breath in 2012.
Love to you all.