In the last couple of weeks I’ve been surprised that, possibly for the first time ever, I’ve been inspired more by the new year than by Christmas. I love Christmas. I love good food and sparkly things and spending time with my family and singing carols and everything that goes with it, but for some reason, this year Christmas didn’t have quite the same charm. I really struggled to connect with the familiar stories of angels and shepherds. I felt a bit out of it.
Then came new year, and everything changed.
That may have had something to do with a last minute decision to see the Pet Shop Boys at the huge Hogmanay party that Edinburgh hosts every year, with incredible fireworks, a jovial crowd and no rain or snow!
Whatever it was, I’m really feeling new year!
Today, a friend pointed the way to a new year challenge – One Word 365. The idea is simple, instead of making a list of resolutions that you’ll probably never keep (see last year’s resolution to sew something new each month – I didn’t even manage January!), you choose one word to focus on for the coming year. I think that works well with the way I think anyway. I usually find that there’s a word or phrase or choice piece of wisdom that follows me for a few weeks or months and I find myself repeating it silently to myself. Examples from the past twelve months have been:
- Exhilaration – a reminder to myself that what I really enjoy is moving fast and being on the edge of control, exemplified in my love of skiing and ice skating
- Style matters – how things look is important and communicates so much. This matters whether you’re dressing yourself, creating a piece of art, decorating a room, designing a website or a church building or planning a party. I don’t always get it right but when I do there is a huge sense of peace and joy that come along with it.
- Just be you – this is something I have to say to myself on a regular basis when I start worrying that I’m not as good as someone else. It’s a consequence of knowing and working with such brilliant colleagues!
- Settle – If there’s a word that sums up 2013 it’s probably this one. It’s been a year for grinding my toes down deep into the cobbles of Edinburgh, settling into deep friendships, settling in a new permanent home, transforming the new into the familiar.
So … what word should I choose for 2014?
Here are some from the list that grabbed me:
curious … determined … dare … freedom … possibility … risk … adventure …
All good words. But I’m thinking they’re very active, and yes, I want to be active and take risks and go on adventures, but maybe I need something that has a bit more balance to it, because I also want to pray and paint and walk along the beach and appreciate blue skies and not feel guilty about not being productive all the time!
I think I’m settling on a word. It can encompass all those things, the adventure and the peace.
I think that’s my word for 2014. Live.
So … I aim to join in, take part, don’t be a spectator, say yes often and relish each moment. Be present. Don’t get hung up on the past or worry about the future. Live.
And I remember that life in all its richness is the ultimate prize of faith, it is what heaven really is but to gain it you need to give it away. And so I choose to live to give away my life, so that I may gain it. Whatever that might mean.
I’ve created this image with one of my photos. It would make very good background wallpaper for your computer (click the image for the high resolution version). Please credit me if you post it anywhere. And credit the bible for the words – can’t take credit for those!
As I often am at this time of year, I’m reminded of the words of the Methodist Covenant prayer. As with so many things in life it is both very beautiful and very hard. Those of us who choose to will be praying this prayer together at our Gathering this wednesday.
‘I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing,
put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you,
or laid aside for you,
exalted for you,
or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.’
So have you got a word for 2014? Want to choose one with me?