I’m already seeing it around the web, people choosing one word to lean on as a theme for the New Year. I couldn’t choose one last year. Now I know why.
If I had to describe 2012 in one word it would be Loss. And no one wants that to be their word as they step off the precipice on to a clean slate of 365 days.
Isn’t that what entering a new year provides, a clean slate?
It’s why we pick words that carry hope and not dread. But I’m averse to choosing one word and maybe it has something to do with my evangelical, name it and claim it upbringing. It feels presumptuous, more like wishful thinking than a prophetic canopy to dwell beneath.
Oh, I prayed about a word and thought about choosing Hope. It stuck with me for days after Christmas. I even bought a shirt at Forever 21 in Phoenix while waiting for Murielle to return a gift. Hope studded in four letters stacked on black. I wore it hanging off my shoulder like Jessica Beals in Flash Dance, until it shrunk in the wash and revealed my mid-life belly fat.
And that’s how Hope began to feel just months into 2012, too small for my circumstances. So I left Hope lying like a sales receipt blowing bargains in the parking lot of dreams. I wasn’t prepared to pay the full price of her meaning.
I lost my tail wagging companion of eight years to cancer the first month of the year, my brother to drugs in the eighth, my church to a vote in the eleventh, with sprinkles of lost relationships amid deceptive circumstance scattered on top of each of all the others. And the word repetitively spewed from my mouth changed from Hope to Why.
It wasn’t until the final loss of the year – my daughter’s collision with a semi weeks before Thanksgiving – that the full price of Hope seemed reasonable. All of my why’s, they ran away into the night sky, limping on shards of unanswered questions. And Why passed the baton to Who in the midst of the trauma. It’s the word God used in response to Job when he uttered why.
Where were you when I created the earth?
Tell me, since you know so much!
Who decided on its size? Certainly you’ll know that!
Who came up with the blueprints and measurements?
How was its foundation poured,
and who set the cornerstone,
While the morning stars sang in chorus
and all the angels shouted praise?
And who took charge of the ocean
when it gushed forth like a baby from the womb?
That was me! Job 38:4-8, MSG
Who was it that saved my daughter within an inch of her life? Who decides when someone takes their last breathe? Who does the church worship? Who joins friends together? Who determines the word to describe a year?
I haven’t picked one word for 2013 but if I did, I would christen the new year with Found. Because I’ve learned from 2012, whether groping through the dark night of the soul or radiant with rejoicing, I am never lost along the journey.
And neither are you. In all of our losses we are perpetually found by Him.
Being found by Jesus, it is not presumptuous or wishful thinking, its unchangeable truth that enables me to open my hands to welcome a New Year. Are you opening your hands too?
Happy New Year Friends!
I’m looking forward to sharing some new things I’m dreaming about for us this year.
Q4U: What about you, have you chosen a word to welcome the New Year?