Each year, I conclude the year with a word or phrase that has followed me throughout the year. I know for many it’s starting the year with a word that sets intention and purpose, but for me, the practice has always been powerful as a reflection on the last year. It reminds me that there are strands and chords that echo throughout the events of the year. It reminds me that there are whispers of learning and growing that call to us throughout the year.
2022 has been a Year of Staying Open.
We celebrated a year in a new city and a new school. And in January, we will celebrate a year of having school-aged children, something that has shifted and changed our day-to-day routine. I am so grateful for a school community where we can all learn and grow together. I found myself opening more days to being a substitute teacher and opening my mind to being a basketball coach again.
There are so many aspects of this year that I feel are a continuation of the life I was living right before I was called into ministry. At the time, I was sure that I had to choose between teaching and coaching and being a minister and in some ways at first, I did. The grueling 92-hour Master’s degree certainly demanded a lot of me, but even when I was in school, I was still substituting at several different schools.
I didn’t realize at the time that there isn’t necessarily one call for each of us, but instead that a called life is one that stays open to the voice and prompting of the Holy Spirit. Staying open isn’t an easy posture. It is much easier to remain closed and rigid in our plans and expectations of the day. Staying open means being willing to shift and change. Staying open means noticing and seeing people who we might and their needs. Staying open means we never quite know how the day is going to go.
At first, I resisted this phrase for this year. There were too many possibilities. There was too much unknown. I wanted something definite, something certain, something I could plan on. And then I realized there was freedom in not knowing and in meeting and greeting each day with a posture of wonder.
Who knows what next year will hold, but for this New Year’s Eve, I am standing on the precipice of something new open-handed and open-hearted.