Thursday, December 31, 2015

Welcome, 2016

One of my goals for this weekend is to spend some time looking back on last year, and looking forward a bit to the new year. Seems an appropriate way to celebrate, right? Also I can't go to New Year's parties because the siren call of bed is too strong. Y'all, 2016 will come in just fine with me asleep where I belong! (I'll be doing good to make it ALL the way through 7:00 Mass tonight!)

I used to like the whole resolution thing. Even if I didn't keep it, I loved the idea of a fresh start. Now, I don't really do it so much. I love that there is a moment in time to stop and reflect, but I find that there is a fresh start every morning. Each day is an opportunity to grow, and since I started seeing life that way, it's super fun to look back at a year, because 365 days of growth leads places I never expected! So, I will take some time to dream tonight about what I want my life to look like, to see what's moving me in that direction and where I might need to adjust that is the plan.

There are two things that I realize tonight as I'm doing a little reflecting. One is that I am stronger than I have ever been, at least physically. The other is that I'm not strong enough. I am not strong enough to stay faithful to God, my family or myself in the midst of emotional fatigue. I am not strong enough to keep facing days and nights alone. I am not strong enough to keep fighting to live this life that I am given to the utmost that I can in this moment. I can't, and I don't want to. Luckily He is strong enough. Honestly, the thought isn't enough to bring comfort, but I don't have to feel it for it to be true.  What I do like about this, though, is the reminder that it's not about me, I'm not in control, and I don't have to be.

That's enough of the past, I am excited about the new year. I am excited to keep looking for new things to try personally and professionally with the fabulous, fun, geeky world of movement. (I'm going to be participating in a movement challenge for 4 weeks on instagram, so if you want to see me attempt some new stuff, it'll be on there!) I also want to spend more time on my bike. I am excited to reconnect with some things that are important to me, but that I haven't done enough of this year. For example, photography and climbing. Also, I need to do a better job of getting back to daily Mass.

I also want to try to find some ways to make my day to day activities fit my overall life goals. For example, I love me some screen time, but I don't want my life to be swallowed up in thoughtless electronic consumption. I may have to cut Netflix. It won't save me much money, but I get sucked into marathons, and there are so many other ways to spend my time! I also have a goal in terms of streamlining my life a little bit. I like the minimalist movement, and I saw a great goal to get rid of 2,016 things in 2016. If I would have waited to start my cleaning out until now, that would be easy. I'm guessing this will be a challenge, but that's what makes it fun! Minimizing things like Netflix (if I do that) and some of my stuff is not about those things being bad in and of themselves. It's far more about taking the time to make thoughtful decisions about where to put my time and energy.

What about you? Any dreams/goals/resolutions? Is the new year a good thing for you, or another day on the merry-go-round? No matter what, I hope you have a wonderful and blessed 2016!

One of the more spectacular new days of 2015 with the morning sun lighting up a rainbow.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

God Is With Us

So, I haven't posted a whole lot this month. Or this year, really. No particular reason or plan to that, it's just how it's happened. Part of that is because I have been busy immersing myself in the fascinating world of human movement. Part of that is because I just don't know what to say. And part of it is because my computer and internet make me crazy sometimes and won't load things when I do want to post, so then I give up. there may be other reasons, but why waste time with analysis? It is what it is.

But here I am, posting. Partly because I have a boat load of food to cook for the next few days and this sounded easier (and I just told my mom that I don't procrastinate as much as I used to... maybe I should call her back!) But more because there was something that I was thinking about in terms of Advent and Christmas this year.

I have shared before that the holidays for me are... interesting to say the least. I have always loved this time of year, so there is part of me that still gets a little giddy about lights and tinsel and sparkles and cinnamon scents. Yet, my very love for this time of year also makes it one of the toughest times of the year. There is nothing like the holidays to highlight the wonderful joyous things that are in your life, but there is also nothing like it to make you feel all the hurts that much more deeply. I never know from day to day how it's going to go.

All year, and especially from Thanksgiving on, I have just been feeling a certain emotional fatigue. I'm just so tired of being alone. I have wonderful family and friends, so I'm not totally alone, but probably more than some people think I am. When I am with people, I am not merely acting like I am enjoying myself, I usually am having a good time, but when I am alone, I am so over this.

I didn't start to write this post to whine. I am here to tell you what I have learned this particular Advent season. I was talking to a friend who is in a similar situation in a way. We discussed how the holidays can be extra hard, but I told her that as tired as I was and as much as I sometimes don't feel like I have any fight left, I was still determined that nothing and no one were going to take away the holiday celebration from me completely.

By the grace of God, there is something extra special about this holiday season for me, something a little unexpected. No, it is not any change in my circumstances (darn it!), but rather a still, small voice. Two bloggers (sadly, I don't remember the exact posts to link you to) towards  the beginning of Advent said some things that have been sitting with me. One was struggling, but mentioned that putting up the Christmas tree and other decorations helped because every time she looked at it, it was a reminder that Christ is with us. The other mentioned bringing everything we had to the manger to the feet of Jesus (in particular through the St. Andrew's novena). Those messages caught my eye a little bit, since I remembered them, but the messages have worked their way slowly to my heart.

Christmas is the fact that Jesus came to this earth in human flesh. He is "Emmanuel", translated as "God with us". That in the recent days has become my celebration of the holidays. My celebration doesn't have to be that everything is perfect with lots of traditions and everything that I love about that. My Christmas doesn't have to be about all things joyful and happy, it can also be about the parts that are less wonderful, and the parts that we don't want to talk about. Because the important part is that 1) God is with us, and 2) we can choose to bring all of what we have and offer it back to Him.

I just want to say an extra special thanks to my prayer buddy this Advent. I feel like God's grace is working into some of the places of my heart that have been a little hardened by this fatigue, and I am grateful for that. I feel a little more willing to let go of what I want for my life, and trust whatever it is that He's doing (even though I'm still freaking tired of it! ;) ). On the other hand, I also feel a little more able to specifically pray for my vocation in life, even while letting go. Anyway, thanks for being a part of that.

Whoever is here and happens to read this (since I know that most of you are WAY busier than I am these next couple of days!), know that for those of you that are rejoicing God's abundant blessings this Christmas, I am rejoicing with you. I am truly happy for you. For those of you that are in pain this Christmas, I am praying for you. I know that pain this time of year is not quite like anything else, though I may not quite know your particular pain, I am hurting that you have to carry this. Many of us are in some kind of in between, and that is okay, too. Not every moment of your holidays has to be jolly and bright for you to succeed as a human being (or am I the only one that feels that kind of pressure?) I hope for all of us, wherever we fall on the spectrum are able to either rejoice or take comfort in the fact that because of this day, God is with us.