Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Perfect Way

Promises for 2011

I was thinking about resolutions for the new year.

And that led me to evaluate past resolutions. I thought about how I have made them only to forget them by January 13th.  

I thought of the matters that seemed so important at the time; and how, by the end of the year, none of them amounted to anything.

I thought of the years I was so paralyzed by inertia, by fear, by sadness, by the conviction that nothing I could do would change the situation.

This year I couldn't even think of anything I should be considering as resolutions (be more tidy? resolved that several times over the years - lasted until January 2 each time; take a course? - neither the time nor the money; tackle Bach's Goldberg Variations? - a possibility but oh the scales it will take me to get my hands disciplined to be even marginally competent ...). I started to feel the familiar sense of pressure to set some expectations for myself, to be less impulsive, to have a plan. I started to retreat in despair.

I read a friend's musings on resolutions - she, too, was stymied, feeling hemmed in and without options. After reading her distress, I wanted to exhort her to breathe.

Just ... breathe.

And a word came to me, a whisper from a nontraditional source of theology, the funny, moving, profoundly spiritual little book Mister God, This Is Anna.


The word for breath. For wind. The word for Spirit.

I looked it up, and this word is used in the following ways in the New American Standard version of the Bible:

air (2), anger (1), blast (2), breath (31), breathless* (1), cool (1), courage (1), despondency* (1), exposed (1), grief* (1), heart (1), inspired (1), mind (3), motives (1), points (1), quick-tempered* (1), side (4), sides (2), Spirit (76), spirit (127), spirits (3), strength (1), temper (2), thoughts* (1), trustworthy* (1), wind (98), winds (7), windy (2), wrath (1).

So many facets to this gem of a word! And how many of them describe what I have felt at one time or another in the past year!

Which gave me pause. If I couldn't see my way clear on December 31, 2010, to make resolutions for 2011, maybe I should look back down the road of last year for a few minutes to see how I was protected, guided, nurtured, calmed, motivated, encompassed - how much I was cared for.

"Hitherto [thus far] has the Lord helped us" (I Samuel 7:12) was what came to my mind.

I had abandoned absolutely every one of my resolutions last year - and yet God got me through the year. Despite myself, He did not fail me ever.

And I was able to breathe, able to start making some resolutions in the certain hope that even though I might fail (might?!), God will remain faithful.

New Year's eve was spent in the TH with most of my family and with a few friends. As is our family's tradition, right after midnight we each draw a promise from a selection that Dad has typed up on ribbons and has carefully and lovingly arranged on a treasured platter.

The promise I drew for 2011 was this: "As for God, his way is perfect; and maketh my way perfect."

Hitherto is only a step on this way. And I can rest in the hope that just as surely as my resolutions will falter in January, He will be as consistent in March of this year as He was in December of last year. In September His way will remain perfect for me despite everything I have not managed to live up to; and my promise for the whole year is that He will make my way perfect if I resolve to do nothing else this year but trust Him.


  1. OB.A very nice time at the TH for NYE.I still marvel at you talents. NYE resolutions are a spur of the moment promise which lasts only a few days. I think we have all done that at one time or another.Anyway D&N wish you nothing but success in the NY.

  2. Resolutions are one thing but priorities are greater, and I believe you kept yours over the past year, in not forgetting small events and people (not talking about size!) to great ones. You have inspired me to prioritize well and stick to it this year. Thank you, Dahling! Happy New Year! Thanks for the perfect NY chai!

  3. i love how even a ribbon ties the promise given to the january, march, september of this coming year.

    and i love your dad's heart - what a beautiful legacy he is building for each of you.



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