January 1, 2016

2016: Shine

I am not a resolution maker. Or, rather, I suppose I once was, but when I discovered, after years of trial and error, that I am not a resolution keeper, I resolved to restructure my efforts. (Did she just make a resolution?) I have learned that my life is a work of art, and I don't do well defining it rigidly. I function much more happily within the flexible structure of over-arching themes and "knowns" about myself and others around me, which are always open to discovery and growth. So last year, in lieu of a resolution, I chose a New Year's Theme. It was "House in Order," based not so much on the R.E.M. song Wolves, Lower  as the scripture D&C 88:119

Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a bhouse, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;

although the song gets stuck in my head every time I think about it.

Putting my house in order over the last year has been an imperfect process, and has led me on paths I did not expect. I knew when I chose the theme that it was necessary in my life in so many ways. The kids and I had been on our own for a year and the dust was beginning to settle. The rubble needed to be cleared away and that had implications spiritual, financial, educational, emotional... in every way. I did not expect, on January 1 2015, that this commitment would lead me to a new position at work (I see it as connected, though others may not), a new car, some eliminated debt, the reduction of our material possessions by well over 50%, and, in the fall, moving from a house we adored to a smaller, more affordable and more manageable apartment closer to work, church, and (for me) school. But I trusted in the process. I trusted in the refining pain and the celebratory freedom that came, and this year, through ups and downs, I have felt so very much ALIVE.  The children continued to heal and grow and find order in their own self-awareness, the house of their souls. And though it is not definitively laid out before us, I can see the order of a future-- a beautiful future for my little family ahead.

This year, the theme I have chosen is, simply, "Shine." The thought bowled me over as I was preparing a Christmas lesson for my Sunbeams class at church (three and four year olds) and contemplating the star of Bethlehem. Phrases such as "goodness and light" and words such as "holy" and "glorious" rang in my mind. I knew that this year, 2016, would be about shining my light.

What that means to me: It means bringing, in any way I can, light into the lives of others, my children first of all. It means being unafraid of giving, loving, sharing, seeking, growing, risking, failing, and repeating in a way that adds up to a life which might inspire someone. Even one someone. It means shaking off anything that holds me back, hides my light, or makes me afraid. It means accepting both pain and happiness, hard work and vital play as necessary to illuminate the soul. To shine. It means flying like a fragile burning ember against the dark, on the hope of being someone's wising star.

And I *might* just try again to write about it all here, like I used to...but with more SHINE.


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