I know this falls well short of being a profound statement, but this is a strange time of the year. It’s a period typically spent looking toward the future AND one of examining the past. What does the new year hold? What can we take away from the year we leave behind? Or the decade?
I may be wrong, but I think we as a species tend to spend most of our minutes and hours and days looking forward, always anticipating or hoping for something, even if it’s ill-defined. (That’s not to ignore the very real human experience of regret, which is a powerful rear-facing driver for many of us and would take a series of posts to explore properly). The last few weeks of the year especially give us something very concrete to look forward to, even if it’s not always positive. For some of us, it is a happy-bordering-on-giddy-anticipation, as the season and all its traditions wash over us. For others it’s controlled by dread, because the holiday season represents loneliness or death or some other trauma or devastating memory (past and future colliding.)
For me, having youngish kids, it seems time in general is flying faster than it ever has, and this holiday season has been no exception. It seems like it was just Halloween. Halloween 2018, at that! I was vowing to enjoy the upcoming season, and now that season is gone, and I’m not sure if I enjoyed it or not. I think, in part, this is due to the fact that most of parenthood at this stage, for me, is spent just trying to get through the day, looking ahead even to the next available moments of respite, like a winter swimmer dipping under the ice, doing whatever he can to just make it to the next open breathing spot.
But this tendency is not just relegated to the holidays. During our minutes and hours and days the rest of the year, we tend to yearn for what’s to come. Maybe it’s a lunch break where we can sit in a safe place and eat grocery store sushi (hey, don’t knock it), or the 5 o’clock work’s-done whistle (Do they still have those?). Maybe it’s a vacation or a baby or a birthday or an evening with friends or a moment alone (my wife will raise her hand here!). Maybe it’s a seasonal transition, a change a climate that always seems to lead to a change in mood. Maybe it’s an email or a phone call or a social media notification that we believe is going to change our life.
I’m rambling a bit, so here’s the thing: I don’t know about you, but I REALLY want to enjoy the moments I have left, to soak up what God has given me.
Here’s to being in the moment with my children, even in the doldrums of the daily tasks or when they are flat out moody and mad, either at me or each other.
Here’s to recognizing every day that a beautiful woman WAY out of my league has chosen to do this life with me.
Here’s to seeking wisdom from the Father, and thanking Him for each moment, even those I’ve considered in the past to be dull.
Here’s to writing more and worrying about my ability to write less.
Here’s to the next few moments of 2020, and whatever lies beyond.
Happy New Year, friends!
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5 thoughts on “Here’s to (the next few moments of) 2020!”
Thank you so much for this encouragement. Just sayin’ (and not sure if it counts for a heck of lot coming from someone who questions every word she ever writes) … your writing is superb. It’s full of wisdom … It’s real and relatable … and funny … while what we say might not be for everyone, we should be careful not to dismiss that which we have to say to the ones it’s for (see I ended in a preposition 🤦♀️) … Here is to “keep going” and a great 2020! Thanks, Phillip!
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Wow, thank you! That means a lot. I really enjoy your writing as well (and thanks for the real-ness of preposition-ended sentences!) and am looking forward to many more posts in 2020! #KeepGoing
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Another couple of thoughts:
-That idea of making sure we not dismiss what we have to say for fear that it’s not for everyone (my own projection onto your words based on my hang-ups) is so powerful. I often ignore the fact that some people respond to what I have to say because I’m focusing on all the ones who aren’t. That’s really a shame because I miss out on being a part of something pretty cool, namely a community of interactive readers.
-Along those lines, in the interest of transparency, I wanted to share something and ask if you ever experience anything similar, as a self-professed questioner of her own written words. You just paid me a REALLY nice compliment, and I appreciate it very much. However, if I’m honest, one of my first gut responses was to disagree with your assessment of my writing, and to “fear” writing more in the coming year because it might expose me for who I truly see myself as when it comes to writing (i.e. a pretender). In other words, you say “keep it up,” which should be encouraging, yet knowing that people want me to keep the posts coming makes we want to stop for fear of showing myself as a bad writer. (Sheesh, what a mental ride!). Does that make sense? If so, how do we rise above that self-doubt and just write, acknowledging that some things we write are good, some are average, some are bad, and that’s ok?
I can totally relate… someone said to me recently when I questioned this exact thing, “It’s that doubt that makes you a writer!”
For thinkers who process by questioning the world, it’s always easy (and maybe a bit necessary, thinking about the log-in-the-eye-thing) to question oneself first. Your comment has humility at its core. That is a good thing. That is what makes you a good writer.
“What would I have to say that hasn’t been said before?”
“There are thousands who say the same thing. Why do I need to contribute?”
“Do I just need attention?”
In all those questions however, I forget that the human story has been the same story for thousands of years. Each one of us tells it from the place we stand. Each one of us is called to draw attention to something other than ourselves. We are here to encourage one another on this pretty short trip. Regrets usually come from the things we didn’t do. It’s the boat that we didn’t untie. It’s the turn we didn’t make. It’s the person we didn’t talk to at the grocery store. It’s the story we didn’t write and then forgot. And … it’s giving in to the doubt.
Maybe the question is not, am I good enough, but rather what is my calling? How can I bring a smile today to the world that’s royally messed up and be an encouragement to the “tons of people” (more than eleven that is) around me.
You are a thinker and (like it or not) that makes you a writer! You are a human with a mission and that makes you a target for an enemy that wants you sidelined!
I still say, KEEP GOING, friend 🙂
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Thank you, Heidi. VERY encouraging. Among other things, you hit on two “raw nerves” for me. One, I struggle greatly with feeling a “need for attention,” and it informs my writing more than I’d like to admit. I get a few likes (or really nice comments : )) and I either want to retreat OR want to try the same song and dance that got the likes in hopes of a bit more of that good but self-centered feeling. And it is in those times, often but not always, that what I have to share seems “off” (not genuine, really). It is not coming from a place of truly wanting to connect, but rather of wanting to draw attention to myself, as you put it so well.
The second nerve is that of the Enemy. I also believe we have an enemy who wants to sideline us, and it’s ALMOST comical how this always plays out. I make a commitment, for instance, to be more prayerful or thoughtful in what I’m writing (i.e. trying to avoid the song and dance mentioned above), and I am hit with a wave of discouragement so sudden and powerful that it has to be coming from the Enemy of my soul.
Thank you friend, and here’s to discovering, and living out, our calling!
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