“It’s okay to be happy with a calm life.” This is a quote that I posted on Facebook almost a year ago. It sounds good and pretty and zen, but it doesn’t feel all the way true.
But it’s getting truer.
My word for this year is quiet. Ironically, I’ve kept pretty quiet about this. I never would have picked that word myself and therein lies the difficulty in articulating what it means to myself, never mind anyone else. But in difficulty, there is often discovery.
Each year I begin praying in December for a word for the next year to come. Last year my word was present. That was a word I wrote about a number of times: here, here and here. Last December, no word came. I had never experienced this. Two weeks into January and I was still waffling and wavering on what 2016 was going to be focused on.
Where I work, we begin with an hour of prayer and worship each morning. One morning, we did something different and picked words out of a bowl that had been previously prayed over – this was to be our word for the year. Now it made sense why God hadn’t previously revealed my word to me. So we went around pulling pieces of paper out of the bowl, taking turns grimacing or laughing or rolling our eyes at the words that we embraced, or wished we hadn’t drawn.
My word was quiet. It felt like something I needed, but it also felt like putting on a wool sweater in July. For one, wool makes me red and itchy. And for another, it’s smothering in the heat. Uncomfortable.
I’ve never considered myself a quiet person. I like to talk. About. Everything.
If I stay quiet for too long Mr. Engineer always asks with apprehension, “What’s wrong?” (By the way, he laughed as he read this part as he remembered asking this very question today!)
As my words for the year tend to do, this one has taken on several shades and shapes. It began with the literal practice of quieting noise when I gave up television for Lent.
But lately it’s looked more like a season of life.
As most of you know, Mr. Engineer and I have moved every year we’ve been married. Not to mention the few years before that. This spring time we found ourselves googling rental properties. Even though we had no reason to move, it was as if our brains were trained to start searching for a new place to call home. But this year was different. There were no career changes. There was no desire to move out of an apartment any longer. There was no need to move locations; absolutely none. And yet, I still felt the itch to search.
…Until my mom so kindly reminded me imagine packing boxes. That mostly cured me.
No weddings. No career changes. No babies born. Quiet.
We are in a season of settling in and feeling at peace with where we are. It could all change tomorrow, but right now this is good. I’m giving myself permission to enjoy this season, this day, and be okay with it. This is a time when I can give energy and enthusiasm and say “oh my gosh, I am thrilled for your pregnancy, new home, new marriage, fill in the blank!”
And I was thinking as I drove home from a yoga class tonight – I’m so happy. From the little home we share, to the friends we do life with, to our family near and far, our jobs that make us come alive and use our gifts and talents. Even the simple things like soft blankets that are always folded, or more often crumpled on the couch all year around for instant couch coziness, the kitchen counter that is always in the process of drying pots and pans that leave evidence of tasty meals shared, and the one bathroom sink we share that we have learned to perfectly synchronize our nightly routine without bumping into one another (most of the time). All good things. All things that I remember and appreciate when I am quiet.
And on the other side of all the happy things, this quiet season has ushered in a season of growth. I’ve begun counseling this year, started facing the reality of my anxiety and need for control. The quiet is my friend for working through things and finding new thought roads to take in my mind instead of the old dead ends.
I don’t know what the next season holds, nor do I need to, but I am saying yes and amen to this quiet year. And I am high-fiving you and letting you know I am all here for you in your not-so-quiet season!