unresolutions

I know, I know. I’m going there. It’s that time of year when the majority of people resolve to do things differently, be kinder, lose weight, laugh more, stress less…yada yada.

I use to be real into that as well. I’m pretty sure at one point I even had a journal, The New Year’s Journal (yes, it is entitled to propercase font), where I’d list my resolutions each year so that I could keep track of them.

But the past couple of years have felt like an unwinding and an unlearning of that mentality. Not to mention how easy it is to fail at those resolutions 35 days or 35 hours in, and the pervading sense of heaviness, frustration, and quitting which tags along. This year, from now on, I want to be different. Or at the very least, I want to approach the blessing of a new year differently. So as a reflection of where I am today–which just happens to be the 1st day of a 2014–these are my two unresolutions.

Live an unclenched life.

f801b3844bd9f6b981d0cd0362fa9502Several happenings in my life as of late have revealed to me how tightly and deeply I foolishly (and falsely) hold on to my life. I harbor it. I worship it. The loss of both my parents in two years; the feelings of confusion, unanswered questions and deep wounds which surround that loss; my mental imprisonment to panic attacks; the immediate tension in my body, racing in my heart, and assuming in my mind I feel when someone I love comes down with the slightest of coughs or aches; the physical knots in my body; my toxic sense to control others’ beliefs and actions–all these reveal my obstinate clenching.

Somewhere along the lines I became God and took over my life. And it has not served me well. With clenching comes so many complications: stress, illness, paranoia, depression, anger, bitterness, judgment, frustration, joylessness, weight, isolation, fear.

I want need to live life openly, spaciously, in surrender.

Treat every day like January 1st.

I need to get over this idea–this boundary–that January 1st is THE best day to start anew and make commitments. I hold to one of my favorites from Lamentations here:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning.

With God, every day is January 1st. In grace, every morning is a new beginning. I’m sure this walks hand in hand with my need to let go. My desire for control leads to my obsession with perfection. And where a goal or plan or day is tainted…well, it’s just much easier to shut down and wait for the proverbial New Year. How much more gracious, spacious, joyous to wake each day with the Happy New Year mentality.

So on this January 1st, these are my unresolutions. May they be nothing more, nothing less, than a faithful friend who walks beside me daily, in light and laughter.

And may the friends on your journey be just as much a blessing to you, each and every perpetual New Year’s Day.

Lost and Found.

My dear husband puts up with a lot of “crap” from me. I’m sure one of his pet peeves is this fun game I like to call: “If I were my ________, where would I be?” (Thanks to my friend Laina for inventing this game.)

If I were my keys, where would I be?

If I were my cell phone, where would I be?

If I were my sanity and sense, where would I be? (Unlike my keys, which usually hang in the door, I’ve yet to consistently find these.)

My game of hide and seek, lost and found popped in my head while reading Genesis 9 this morning:

8-11 Then God spoke to Noah and his sons: “I’m setting up my covenant with you including your children who will come after you, along with everything alive around you—birds, farm animals, wild animals—that came out of the ship with you. I’m setting up my covenant with you that never again will everything living be destroyed by floodwaters; no, never again will a flood destroy the Earth.”

12-16 God continued, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and everything living around you and everyone living after you. I’m putting my rainbow in the clouds, a sign of the covenant between me and the Earth. From now on, when I form a cloud over the Earth and the rainbow appears in the cloud, I’ll remember my covenant between me and you and everything living, that never again will floodwaters destroy all life. When the rainbow appears in the cloud, I’ll see it and remember the eternal covenant between God and everything living, every last living creature on Earth.”

17 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I’ve set up between me and everything living on the Earth.”

rainbowOf course, the amount of questions which arise from this whole Noah/boat/destruction story are overwhelming… did God regret his decision? If so, what does that say about Him? Did he “learn”? If so, what does that say about Him?

But what struck me this morning was the simple, yet profound notion that God created for Himself a reminder, a sort of ribbon-tied-around-the-finger cue, a color-patterned, post-it note marked “remember the covenant.”

Considering this, it is a magical world in which we live, a world in which the physical beauty serves as a whisper of a secret from another world, a deeper relationship, a promise gliding on the surface while thousands float beneath.

In such a discovery I could lose myself.

Retreat

In 2010, Dave and I spent a year committed to practicing the Sabbath. We are not Jewish, just seekers of God–and thus silence and stillness, where He is often found. And despite the struggle to just stop, we did meet Him in that sacred quiet. If you’re interested, we wrote about our soul journey here.

I am shamed to admit how that sacred space has been lost in the hustle and bustle of our lives. Though to say “lost” mitigates my guilt; I have failed to commit to honoring that consistent space to connect with God in my life. I feel this absence even more acutely as of late with the loss of my Mom. It has been really easy to be busy and push aside the mourning and grief that threatens to overwhelm me in a tide of tears. Though I recognize pushing that aside has dangerous implications: with my mind, my heart, my health.

400248_10150609807497813_124060962_n

Tomorrow I am “retreating” once again to connect with God, to grieve, to question, to sit and be overwhelmed  with the loss…and the love. Not even two years ago, I did the same thing to mourn the passing of my Dad. It just feels so heartbreakingly raw to be repeating this process so soon–but I suppose that’s on the agenda to discuss on my retreat. I will go go to Sacred Heart Jesuit Retreat House and sit on this swing and I will cry and journal and pray. And I will face the grief that has been building beneath my seeming-productivity.

“Your most profound and intimate experiences of worship will likely be in your darkest days—when your heart is broken, when you feel abandoned, when your out of options, when the pain is great—and you turn to God alone.”

— Rick Warren

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