One of my very very favorite things is spending time processing experiences with people I love. Because of this, new years is usually one of my very favorite holidays. Nothing makes me feel more connected and engaged with my people than sitting around discussing all the peaks and valleys of the past year and dreaming about the future together.
It’s truly amazing what can change in a year. This time last year Josh and I were planning a likely relocation back to Atlanta in the Fall for him to help start a company with our dear friends. Well, as you can see, we are still in Austin and excited as ever to be a part of our community here. I graduated, passed my boards, and got my first job as a COTA. We travelled to Asia, California, Georgia, Big Bend, and a few places in between. We made some big decisions for our future, and put others on hold. We sacrificed some and indulged some. We grew in empathy for the marginalized, and learned more of injustice happening in our neighborhoods and community. We lived more into what we believe God is calling us to.
2016 has been wild ride. One with so much joy and grief and growth and progress toward who I deeply want to become. This year has taught me so much about vulnerability and honesty, that it is always worth it to strip myself down, layer by layer, no matter what is exposed the harsh world around. I’ve come to learn that the realest love is the kind you get when all the messiest parts of you are on full display, not when you’re packaged neatly with perfectly ironed-out surface. I’m coming to grips with the fact that in my nakedness, as it is showing forth, I may lose some of what I thought was love, but was really admiration. This journey I’m on is ultimately one to fully love myself as Christ loves me, and if I lose people along the way I am going to have to be okay with that.
I have come to cherish the quiet spaces, while simultaneously longing for a future full of chaos and a family Josh and I have created together. I cannot wait to create a family with that man.
This year I’m saying yes to grounding myself in daily contemplative practices, returning again and again to the truth of my own worth and God’s quiet presence in all the spaces in my life.
I’m saying yes to more honesty, vulnerability, and exploration of what all lies beneath the layers of “protection” I’ve spent my life acquiring. It all needs to go if I’m going to find myself in there somewhere.
I’m saying yes to leaning toward the painful places and the questions and the confusing stuff. Nobody gets anywhere by resisting the hard stuff.
I’m saying yes to connection with the people I love. More holding hands. More phone calls and house calls. If I have learned anything this year, it’s that I need my army of encouragers, truth tellers, nasty women, and bad hombres around me to remind me of who I am and where I am heading.
I saw a quote recently that said, “You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress simultaneously.” I plan to be just those.
“There is nothing to prove and nothing to protect. I am who I am and it’s enough.”
― Richard Rohr
So, welcome 2017. My heart is open to the surprises, joys, pain, frustration, and gifts you have for us. I’ll leave you all with a prayer that has been helpful for me in the last few months. May you be fully engaged in your own story as these next 365 days unfold.
The Welcoming Prayer (by Father Thomas Keating)
Welcome, welcome, welcome.
I welcome everything that comes to me today
because I know it’s for my healing.
I welcome all thoughts, feelings, emotions, persons,
situations, and conditions.
I let go of my desire for power and control.
I let go of my desire for affection, esteem,
approval and pleasure.
I let go of my desire for survival and security.
I let go of my desire to change any situation,
condition, person or myself.
I open to the love and presence of God and
God’s action within. Amen.
Happy New Year, friends.