Cheers to you

I know.  How did this happen?!  I can remember writing my first post of 2012 so vividly, how can we possibly have made our way to a new year already?!

We welcomed the new year with a breakfast fit for kings...orange brioche french toast and almond pancakes with fresh strawberries.  Undoubtedly, the first of many.

Just when I think I've got a handle on the rhythms and pulse of a year, the world moves on.  What a bugger.  I feel a little unprepared for a new year.  I also feel like I always say that.  Regardless, 2013 caught me by surprise.  The week between Christmas and New Year's seems to move faster every year.

I was just reading over my post from the start of last year: "Let the wild rumpus start!"  Sometimes I read over my old writing and wonder who wrote that - wishing I could be more like the girl who wrote it or hoping that time has changed me.  I feel the same way about ambition.  That word, ambition, always draws to mind Abraham Lincoln.  I can almost hear him saying, "Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition."  I get excited about ambition, zeal, having a sense of purpose.  It is what moves me through my days.  But sometimes that same eagerness overwhelms me, makes me regretful.  When I look back on my list of ambitions for 2012, I am mixed with both joy and sadness at what I accomplished and what I failed to realize, respectively.  I know that's not the point.  And I probably wrote that somewhere.  We humans seem to be unable to help holding our lives to that plumb line - comparing ourselves to one another, or our past and future selves.  

I have to stop myself.  Because you're right (whoever you are), that's not what it's all about.  It's about living a great story.  

There are a couple ideas I'd like to pull back from last year.  Things I'd like to be true for always.  And some new thoughts, a few things I'm holding in my memory for the year ahead.

1.  To thine own self be true.
I write about authenticity a lot.  But I think it's something incredibly relevant.  I think even when I am mean-spirited, impatient, judgmental, or discontent, that is not an expression of my truest self.  I admit to my imperfections, my failures, and my offenses - wrestling for grace and forgiveness everyday.  But I don't believe those acts are an utterance of my deepest, truest self, rather a vice on the being I was shaped from. There's that beautiful Hebrew word, timshel, "thou mayest." It speaks to the truth that we have been given a choice, that we have been enabled to move with grace.

2.  Make.
While in between jobs this fall, I found myself with heaps of time for art making.  There were all these images and ideas I didn't even realize had been stored within my being, calling out to be made.  So for several weeks there, I kept my papers and paints and newspaper and ideas strewn out in my makeshift studio (ahem, the dining room table).  Then I brought it all out into the sunlight for the world to see.  And they loved it.  I loved it.  And it was good.  Shortly after, a friend reminded me of this quote from Life of Pi.  It reminds me of why I do what I do, and why we must hold the imagination so tenderly.  "If we, citizens, do not support our artists, then we sacrifice our imagination on the altar of crude reality and we end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams."

3.  Make a sacrifice for the good of another.  Offer something of yourself to the world in exchange for nothing.
With all this craziness happening in the world, the violence and unexplainable tragedy, all this talk of money and cliffs and whats fair and right.  I have a hard time sorting it all out. Yet I know that God is a God of good things and of truth.  But I'm not always sure about fair.  My mom used to tell us that life's not always fair.  I'm not sure our goal should be fair.  I'm thinking what will get us all back to what we were created to be is something more like the pursuit of wholeness, light, and goodwill to men.  Let's be honest, it's the road less traveled and a rough one at that.  We're going to need each other's grace and forgiveness and heartening.

4.  Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

5.  As we pursue our own Personal Legends, when you wonder yet again what it's all for, remember this:
Sometimes it is enough to have seen the Pyramids.  Our lives are weighted by where we have been.

6.  Why don't you stop thinking and simply enjoy it?

7.  Also, a few things I'm looking forward to in this new year:  My sister is having a baby, and I'm ever so excited.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, my grandpa celebrates his 80th birthday this Sunday.  I am making a classic yellow butter cake with chocolate frosting - an oldie but a goodie for the oldie but goodie. Also, I'm set to travel with my brother to Uganda and Kenya at the end of this month, as an ambassador and story editor for Venture Corps - a non profit committed to empowering people to love the poor and marginalized, bringing wholeness and light into the lives of many.

That, friends, is what this rumpus is all about.

1 comment:

  1. Jes, thanks for your comment earlier this week on my blog. I have been wanting to comment here as well. I love your writings and your heart. So beautiful and inspiring EVERY. TIME. You have a gift, my friend. Thanks for your words and may your excitements and joys for 2013 be true and real. LOVE YOU!