It’s my habit, during the last week of the year, to reflect and set intentions. To make a list of my top ten reads. To choose a word for the coming year. To tidy up files and create new ones.
I’ve done some of these things. But mostly I’ve wandered and wondered and tried to put down the weight that’s wearing a hole in my psyche.
We walk gingerly toward the dawn of a new year and wonder how history will remember us. We set intentions and make plans knowing full well as never before that life can knock our house of cards down in an instant.
Last night I lay awake and looked into the dark. I prayed, listened, and wondered about things. I thought not so much of the year that’s ending as I did other years in which horrible things happened. Not so much about newsmakers as ordinary folk who stumbled through unfathomable things and remained standing and the character it took for them to do so.
But this morning I can’t help but reflect on the year we’re saying goodbye to. I look at photos and create a grid of memories. Then, because it doesn’t capture enough, I create a second.
This is 2020.
Void, yet full. Quiet, yet oh so loud.
I have neither energy nor desire to philosophize or do anything other than consider the gems in the past twelve months. And there were some.
I published a book. That’s a Big Thing in my world but it’s lost in the chaos. (Note to authors: don’t release a book in a pandemic year.)
I enjoyed good conversation in parks and coffee shops and on the phone.
I enjoyed spending time with our granddaughter and daughter.
I made face masks.
I sang the doxology while I washed my hands.
I grew tomatoes. And canned tomatoes. And roasted tomatoes. And made tomato soup.
I grew a loofah.
I filled my canning shelves and freezer with an obsession I eventually realized wasn’t healthy.
My chess game improved.
I read good books.
I wrestled with my faith.
I was surprised by grace.
I let go of some things.
I played with watercolour paint.
I got another dog.
I stayed home. I took walks. I stayed home. I stayed home. I stayed home.
I listened to the news. I took a break from the news. I set boundaries around how much news I could stomach.
I didn’t do nearly all the things I could have done but I did what I could. And now, as the year winds down, like many of you, I’m just tired.
I’m going into the new year with few expectations, just a measure of hope and faith. Not necessarily a large measure, but a measure nonetheless, trusting it’s sufficient for one day and that enough will be provided for the days that follow.
We made it through, friends. To say “happy new year” seems trite so I won’t. Thank you for reading my ofttimes rambling posts this year. Let’s link virtual arms and walk forward into whatever lies ahead together. It’s still a beautiful world.
(I’ve been on a break from here and, while I don’t usually announce it, inquiries from dear ones make it seem prudent right now. I might be back tomorrow. Or maybe next week, or sometime later.)
I could definitely relate to the ‘don’t publish a book during a pandemic.” But remain hopeful for it still gaining wings and did end the year with two nomination awards for it, so that made my heart happy.
May the New Year be gentler and kinder. Take good care.
Congratulations on the nominations, Barbara! Well deserved recognition.
You captured the feelings of the this year so well. Little things. and big things. We noticed them more, I think. I enjoy reading your blog posts, because you let us see you intimately
I think you’re right in that we noticed things this year that went unnoted in prior years. Not entirely a negative thing. Thanks for your kind words.
Creating a collage, or two, feels like such a good way of rounding off the year … Doing what one can has to be good enough. How disappointing that your book didn’t get the recognition it deserved this year – hoping for better things for you soon.
Your comment echoes Marian’s in speaking to the wisdom of “enough”, Alexa. Thank you.
You’ve had a productive year in my books, Linda!
Think about it: you’ve published and marketed a book . . . no worries about the pandemic squelching your outreach on this front . . . 2021 will give your memoir(s) more time to circulate. I used to point out Robert Browning’s words when I taught Victorian-Age poetry: Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?
Some of the other stars you’ve reached this year: Publishing true words so faithfully on your blog, creating two memory grids, painting, nurturing your garden, . . . I could go on.
“It’s enough,” an adage I tell myself constantly. Here’s to a God-led 2021, my friend. 🙂
I suspect we all had a productive year in different ways than we imagined when the year began. “It’s enough.” I like that.
Dear Linda, when you took the time to write down your activities, you can see how very much you did accomplish. Although publishing your book during a pandemic presented its challenges, your book has staying power and will prevail in all times. Here’s hoping 2021 will be a saner, safer year for all of us. Enjoy your well-deserved break.
You’re right, Kathy. “Accomplishment” can mean different things in different seasons. Yes, I’m with you in hoping and praying for a saner, safer 2021.
Hi Linda…I’m new here, but excited to read your blog…and books…I often turn to writers who can expertly and thoughfully collect the words I think and the photos that bring life to the words.
I look forward to what you have to share.
Hi Joanne! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. I recognize your name from SWCC. 🙂