I sat silently staring at the screen. My mind was as blank as the vast white space in front of me.
What did we do in 2014?
Every remarkable thing that came to mind had happened in 2013.
Can I be honest and say that I can’t even recall what my one word was for 2014? I am sure I had one. I am sure it was something like, “intentional”.
I am just as sure that I didn’t do 2 things to make it happen.
If there is anything I can recall from 2014, it is work.
Now, before I go disparaging myself any further I will say that I love the fact that I can work from home. I also love the fact that my children are learning from my example the value of hard work. I am a firm believer that children need to grow up valuing a strong work ethic and the joy that comes from that lovely exhausted feeling we have at the end of a hard day, and looking at a paycheck knowing that every cent was earned in sweat-equity.
I grew up with these values and I fully intend to instill them in my children.
I love my clients. They are fair and understanding of family and I love the work I do for them. I also love my blogs and I am 100% convinced that if I didn’t have a blog my poor Facebook friends would be subjected to statuses of 500-1000 words – so they all should be very thankful I have a place where I can write, write, write.
No, it isn’t the blogs that were the problem. Nor was it the fact that I have a couple of clients. This is not the reason why my memories of 2014 seem sadly so unremarkable.
Because remarkable things did occur.
The problem was two-fold: my quest for perfection and my failure to be present in the mess.
I will say that the 2nd half of 2014 is far more comforting that the former. In late summer the Lord chastised me for allowing perfectionism to grow out of control in my life. It had consumed me to the point where my health was declining. A significant turn happened in my life in the early fall when He challenged me to lay down all expectations I had built up inside as I looked forward to my trip home to see my parents.
It had been three years since I had been home and two years since I had seen them. You can imagine, given my tendency for perfection, the grand ideals and massive emotions I had built up inside. But obediently I laid it all down. In His omniscience He already knew that my father would be on jury duty the entire time and that my oldest son would be ill the first week.
He knew that our trip would be anything but perfect – and yet, in my obedience to Him, it proved to be the best trip home that I can remember.
This lesson continued on through Christmas as I determined to embrace the messiness of Christmas in our home. It was the least ideal Christmas I can remember this side of 20 years, and yet it is the best Christmas I can recall since I’ve lived here.
Why would these two events – so unlike anything I wanted – stand out in my mind as being the best memories of 2014? Because they were two events when I wasn’t continually looking ahead, continually wishing it were different, continually hoping for something more.
I was present.
I was present and content with the present.
This is why I chose “Present” to be my word for 2015.
I want to work on this area of my life until it is natural for me to show up. Show up and embrace the mess, dysfunction, imperfection, and all that is life.
I have learned that real life isn’t Martha Stewart. It isn’t neatly wrapped with a bow.
No, real life is playdough smashed in your new rug and chocolate fingerprints smeared on your newly painted walls. Real life is loosing your cool with your kids and bending down to look them in the eyes and say I’m sorry, and realizing that they still love you best. Real life is finally addressing the elephant in the room with your husband and finding out that the years you spent avoiding the subject were sadly wasted because now that everyone has acknowledged its presence, peace and unity have been restored.
Real life is a blog that doesn’t look perfect, but is filled with authenticity.
Real life is a week when your Facebook page is a ghost town and linky parties are forgotten…because family comes first.
And that is what 2015 will be for me. It is time to stop perfecting and start living.
What is your #OneWord for 2015?