I entered the new year wrung out. Empty. With little desire to tend to start-of-the-year things that ordered my days in the past.
So I didn’t.
in the morning I got dressed in my “daytime pajamas” and leaned in to the meditation of holding my pup in my arms and piecing a jigsaw puzzle. Hour after hour I focused on little more than shapes and subtle and not-so-subtle changes in colour and pattern. I eschewed the news and avoided social media. I pondered kingdom things. In the evening I changed into my “nighttime pajamas” and climbed into bed with a book.
Day after day of not much more than this. Some of you sent messages: texts, emails, even a phone call or two, just to check in. Others, knowing of my struggle, prayed.
In time, from the the depth of darkness with which I entered this new year, I sensed a softening of sharp corners. I began to tend to other things.
Gerry encouraged me to get outside so we took the dogs for walks and went for drives.
I pulled out recipes and planned meals.
I organized paperwork and tended to Story Circle Network business.
I played with the dogs.
Gerry and I played chess.
I played with watercolour and created art just for the sake of creating art.
And I began to hear a whisper.
One day, we sat in the hot tub looking out over the ridge and there, clear as anything, in the branches of a leafless tree was the shape of two people sitting side by side—one figure leaning in to the embrace of the other. I was mesmerized by the image and wondered how it was that I had never noticed it before. I knew there was a message there for me.
There is this independent thing in me that wants to be in control and tries to convince me that I can do it—whatever it is—by myself. Sometimes takes a season like that which I have just come through to recognize the folly of this kind of thinking.
The indisputable truth is that I am loved by family, friends, and most of all with a Divine love the immensity of which I cannot fully fathom. (You too, by the way.)
That whisper—be loved—reminds me that I was never meant to carry the burden all by myself and when I try to do so, I’m apt to break. I did break. The first gift of 2021 to me was that brokenness.
I am not abandoned or ineligible; rather I am, and always have been, loved. Maybe, like me, you’re prone, in times of stress, to deflect that love but that doesn’t change it. It’s still there, waiting for us to put down the shield and lean in to Love’s embrace like the image in the trees remonded me. It’s not conditional on anything we do or don’t do, it just is.
Being loved is our better work. It’s only from that place that we are able to love.
For years I’ve chosen a word for the year to help maintain focus. I have tossed around a couple options for 2021 but haven’t settled on anything yet. Maybe this year I need two words. Be loved. Or even just one. We’ll see.
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Thanks to those of you who reached out these past weeks to check on me while I was absent from this space. Your thoughtfulness is much appreciated. xo