This year has looked a lot like fits and starts: ups and downs, bravery and courage followed by moments where I let fear win (and win pretty big). It’s looked like standing on a mountain top one moment and greiving in the valley the next. If you’ve been there, I know you know how exhausting it can feel. If you’ve been there, I know you know how shitty it feels to take three steps forward and five steps back.
But what else did I expect of change, really?
The other day, after the chaos of Christmas has calmed, I looked at my roommate and said, “I wish I could just snap my fingers and the apartment would be clean!”. I say stuff like this a lot. Because- finger snapping is pretty easy and everything else seems really hard. There’s no end to things I wish I could snap my fingers have have them be done like magic: my undergrad. emotional healing. grocery shopping. that awful five hour flight to Texas. coffee delivered to me in bed. conflict resolution in relationships. the ability to foster kiddos.
Change doesn’t really look like finger snapping, though. It doesn’t look like the clock hitting midnight. Sometimes, this is a pretty accurate depiction:
In response to my finger-snap-clean-apartment comment, my roommate said something pretty great: “How about we tag team it? We’ll set a timer for 20 minutes and see how much we can get done!”
I didn’t know it at the time, but those things say so much about how it feels to end 2015 and go into 2016.
One. “Let’s tag team it”. I’m not alone, and neither are you. We’re put on this earth to do things together; to rejoice with and weep with and help each other out. And here’s the thing: you don’t always have to be the helper. One of the best things I’ve learned this year is to ask for help when I need it. Also, hear me when I say this: saving the world isn’t on your shoulder either. When we find something that makes us come alive, often times we can look around and see that it’s making other people come alive as well. They say that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it certainly wasn’t built by one person. Take a deep breath. Let’s tag team it.
Two. “Let’s see how much we can get done!”. Starting is always the hardest part, in my opinion. To get off the couch, or open a Word document. To roll out the yoga mat. To free yourself from the warm embrace of the blankets on your bed. The fears of starting are overwhelming: whatever I start won’t end very well, or it will be exhausting and time consuming and a whole lot of work. And to be honest, it probably is! The other night the timer went off after cleaning for 20 minutes, and we just kept cleaning until it was all done. Because the truth about starting is that, once you get going, you very rarely want to stop.
2015 feels like I earned an “I” for Incomplete in it. There were lots of starts and not a lot of nicely wrapped up loose ends. I still don’t have a degree in my hands, and it turns out that I still should probably be in counseling, and I still can’t do a handstand. But that’s not how years work, is it? They aren’t closed doors at midnight. The moment passes. You drink some champagne. We all wake up exactly as we did the day before, and get to pick up exactly where we left off.
When I first started to practice mediation, I was surprised to hear that there is grace for the wandering mind. “It’s only natural. Just remember your breath, and pick up where you left off.” If I’m honest, I’ve let my mind wander a lot lately and instead of wanting to pick up where I left off, I’m tempted to quit the whole damn session. But here I am, to remind myself and you it’s only natural. perfectly human. remember your breath. you’re alive. pick up where you left off. you aren’t too much. you aren’t fucked up. failure doesn’t mean going back to square one.
My resolutions look a lot like finishing what I started: yoga. smoothies. water. reading. Jesus. community. foster care. crafting (lots of pillows). loving my family. loving my friends. loving myself. running. spanish. pizza and alcohol in moderation. write a little more, watch tv a little less. don’t quit school. don’t forget to breathe.
It would be nice to snap a finger and these things come to life, but Jesus doens’t work like that. For some reason, He’s a big fan of process. He takes us through the wilderness and listens to our complaining and even when we are at our most annoying and ungrateful, He promises to finish the work He started. In the meantime: you are enough. Even breathing in love is enough.
With love and hope, friends!