2013 Wrap-Up: One Word
This morning I got on my too-small-for-me-AND-broken-bicycle and began peddling like mad only to discover that thanks to several huge gusts of wind, my progress forward was rather pathetic. It was at the great waste of unnecessary energy that I propelled myself along the bike path, head down, hood up, only to watch the longer, leaner, stronger bikers around effortlessly pass me. And this guy with two extra kids on his bike. —>
Yep, they passed me too.
So there was that.
And as I cycled (albeit rather slowly), I had a laugh-at-myself moment.
Like if I could just step back and see the uselessness of it all, I would probably get off the frick’n bike and start walking. It would probably be faster. The only reason I am even peddling a broken bike is because I fell over. Into a puddle. On Christmas Eve. That was after my bike that fit me just right made its final resting place at the bottom of a canal courtesy of some football hooligans. So perhaps I should just give up on biking all together.
This unfortunate bike effort feels like a metaphor for all of two-thousand-thirteen.
Like, that was just way too much effort, and I still didn’t get anywhere.
In case you missed it, my One Word for 2013 was purpose. I jumped into the year excited. With great anticipation that this year was going to be awesome. And I was going to accomplish… stuff.
Focusing on the things that really mattered.
(Purpose: Discovering the object towards which I strive.
Purpose: The motivating factor, the goal, the intention.
Purpose: Taking advantage of the gift of freedom.
Purpose: Knowing what I have today is only temporary.
I am not totally sure when purpose completely de-railed itself into so-busy-I-can’t-get-my-head-above-water-let-alone-answer-any-emails mode. I think at the six month mark my life was almost so exceptionally out of control that I dreamed about sleeping… as in, I would fall asleep, and in my dreams, I would get to sleep for a long, long, long time but then I would wake up and realise I hardly slept and the day was starting all over again.
After the six month mark, things just got hard. Lives were lost, tears were shed, I battled darkness, I lamented, I kicked and screamed, I ran out of words, I collapsed on my bed, and I still struggle to get out of it every single day.
I was (am) a broken bicycle getting buffeted by the wind. And I felt like I wasn’t moving at all.
I guess I lied to myself when I chose just one word for 2013. I actually had a list. A list which I thought, ‘if I accomplish these in 2013, I will have used the year purposefully’.
– Helping run the Shine Seminar (which I did).
– Going to Dutch class (which I did)
– Moving into a volunteer position at NFS (which I did)
– Writing more (which thanks to SheLoves Magazine, I did)
– Connecting with what is happening in Eastern Europe (which I did, through multiple trips and events)
– Moving to a house closer to work (which, praise the Lord, I did)
– Being involved in my local church (which I did)
Yet accomplishing each thing on my list didn’t give me purpose.
My wrap up label for 2013 was simply, a year of tears, and purpose has become something like putting one foot in front of the other. Choosing forgiveness over bitterness. Choosing to hope when I feel like despair.
For me purpose looks a bit like a broken bicycle, but it sounds like being real and vulnerable. It feels like late night whiskey drank around a table of friends. It looks like hands that write emails, even when they get no response. It smells like fresh flowers bought to mourn the loss of a girl who only a few people know. It costs dropping everything to fly to Canada and stand next to someone I love at a memorial of someone I never thought we would lose. It feels like waking Christmas morning in a big bed next to my Amsterdam sister while sunshine streams in through the windows. It tastes like drinking fresh fruit juice on a lazy Saturday when nothing is accomplished except perhaps taking a shower.
Here is my broken life, poured out and wasted on all my striving, damaged by the reality of this world, fighting for every step forward.
So with all that was accomplished and lost in 2013, I don’t really know how I feel about the word purpose anymore. Except perhaps to say that I am now acutely aware of how temporary life is. Yet my saving grace has been those temporary moments that speak to something so much deeper.
In 2014 I will be taking a sabbatical, like actually for real, 6-months off. I have no idea what that will look like yet, all I can say, is I am so thankful for the people in my life who are willing to walk alongside me in rest, hold me accountable to it, and help me form something beautiful out of it.
How did your one word 2013 work out? What is your new word for 2014?