on lightness. . .
For the last three years, I have walked into the year with a word – a theme to tie it together. I spend November and December tossing words around and see what sticks, and then I start to look for it to pop up as the months go by. . .
For 2020 it was JOY, which was actually really helpful in the uncertainty of COVID – reminding myself to search for moments of joy, joy that surpassed circumstances, joy in spite of “trials of many kinds.” For 2021 it was TRUST – and as we walked through David’s mom’s last days with Alzheimers and her death, through hard family things, through looming transitions at the hospital, and through lots of plans being broken and reconfigured, there was comfort in the whisper.
For 2022, it is light. . . early in the year I stumbled on a verse “and in your light, do we see light” (Ps 36:9) and I painted it onto the sign above our fireplace right now. Reading the verse, I had this picture of a double light, like the light that comes with those secret illuminator pens. He is showing me the world in pointed and unusual light, making details clear I would not have seen before. He has used the concept to show me myself as He sees me – and others with the same growing grace-filled clarity. The contrast of light and darkness. Of stars and sunrises and sunsets and candles and spotlights. And lately, it has turned into a daily question – the same one God asked Job when He talked at the end of the book, “what is the way to the place where the light is distributed?” (Job 38:24)
What I didn’t expect, though, is also the many many ways that I would also see the word as “lightness” or release from burden. It has been almost a weekly reminder to set aside or share the load I am carrying – to allow my shoulders to relax, to hold things with more open hands, to forgive and be forgiven. I had a quotation on my wall for awhile – “this mountain you are carrying, you were only meant to climb. . .” Lightness seems to epitomize that.
As these pictures of illumination and levity have alternated, they have provided a consistency to my prayers and framed the things I am learning. Although it is more nebulous than my other words it has been my favorite so far. . .
is there anywhere you are seeing the word or concept of light? I would love your favorite songs and pictures as I continue my year. . .
“my faith is held together by wonder- by every defiant commitment to presence and paying attention. i cannot tell you what makes the sun set, but I can tell you how those colors blurred together calm my head and change my breath. I will die knowing I lived a faith that changed my breathing.”
COLE ARTHUR RILEY