I can't help but look back at 2013 with large amounts of peace, and nostaliga: This year has been a brimming cup of kindness, despite my shortcomings, misguided expectations, usual quirks. How many times have I stopped, steadied myself on the railing, breathed deep the beauty of the moment? Plenty. For this, many prayers of thanks have been sent heavenward, many glasses raised in honor.
Sure, there's been a few bumps in the high road, a few blasted interruptions to the peace; but even those have been short lived, temporary distractions. The tantrumers and their tantrums, though they've shown, have passed (not dead, just gone). Believe me, for this I've raised another glass.
When I think of the year gone by, I think of the whirlwind of love and parenthood, the work that comes with dreaming, and the hardship that proves our spot is well picked. I think of mad dashes through the airport, long road trips into the night, supper and tea around tables; laughs that build on sighs that build on smiles. Then come the boxes, the breaking of those boxes, the gratitude for clean lines and messy middles. I think of my frantic attempts to meet the clock halfway, my hands-up approach to failing that end, and the ensuing embrace of reality (I can not keep up).
There is so much yet to do, and so much more I haven't seen. Laundry piles won't end, this I've learned is true. Struggle won't end either, but thankfully, Grace will stay, too. The dizzying moments, the late-night-bedside existential conversations with my fiercely alive little one, the early morning jaunts to work and the matching of life with my other - these things are all accompanied by, preceded by, enveloped by, grace. I'm humbled by how much of my life has very little to do with me. I'm grateful I've got things beyond myself to pay attention to.
My to-do list for the year sat largely untouched. Those projects I loudly vowed to complete are still on my desk, in the same stack as before. I've got them on the top, ready to go when January hits. Accomplishment would be so nice, so I keep the goals in my reach. But I know that if the rest of life is anything like what's shown up so far, I've got to loosen my grip on pre-planning, and work on my ability to take the moment captive. I've got to figure out how to work, one paragraph at a time, instead of holding on to novel-length expectations.
This is the case with all of life, isn't it? We expect a masterpiece without picking up a brush. I grow frustrated with my need for tiny moments, little actions, mundane tasks and insignificance. But we do need these things, don't we? The sentence and the pause are foundational.
To this year I owe a debt of gratitude for the lessons picked. Rightness makes me feel good for a little while, but Grace makes everyone better, permanently. Anger might motivate, but it should never speak. Living life is more important than keeping time.
Though acquaintances are made, forgot, and rest is hard to find; though peace does come and go a lot, remember to be kind. Stay with the ones who keep you, leave the meaner ones behind. Let love break your heart and then rebuild you over time. This is life, it's hard and fast, and we can not rewind. The moment's gift is what it is, so hold it close and let it in, for your sake and for your kin, for auld lang syne.
1. Stefan Buetler 2. Anthropologie 3. Photographer unknown