It’s likely not proper etiquette to begin the year by confessing your quiet misgivings of its arrival. But one thing I know for sure is this: hope and love can’t be devoid of honest, skinned-knee grit, and encouragement is often born from questioning. That’s what I’ve promised you here—no flowery words, just honest encouragement and some real hope for your purpose-weary soul.
I ended 2020 with letters to the year that had so much stacked against her. And if I were to write a letter to 2021 right now, it would let her know that I already anticipate she will be blamed for a laundry list of things. I would let her know that, if I had my druthers right now, I would enter into her days anonymously so I could simply be there to catch her tears when troubles begin to mount.
But we are not anonymous, you and me. Our presence will be felt in the days ahead, no matter how we choose to step. And so I reach out my hand to 2021 and say, “we’ll be resolute, we’ll stay small, we’ll fill the space we’ve been given.” Resolute as in steadfast, small as in focused, fill as in tending well to what’s set before us.
And in 2021, we’ll gather.
In 2013, I wrote the first words about a word of the year. They were quite poetic, really—hearkening to the days when I longed to write words like an Ann or an Emily because surely their voices were far more beautiful than mine would ever be. I said in those days that I was a hunter and a gatherer, a warrior and a princess. “Scattered throughout my life are vignettes born of adventure and quiet, of both the active and passive parts of my heart. There are beautiful baskets filled with warm sunshine dripping on sweet smelling grass with the melody of a child’s laughter in the air, and ravaged, bloodied battlefields filled with bowed heads and haunting songs of justice. Every vignette is steeped in eternity, drenched in divinity—pages in the ultimate story God is writing in me.”
God is certainly still revealing the ink on the pages of the story. And there is still something about seeking and finding and treasuring and nurturing that gives my heart life and liberty. But eight years and thousands of vignettes later, I am finding that there is little that is truly scattered. The pages are bound with invisible thread. Celebration and grief hold hands and swap stories, and chapter and verse blend into a single storyline.
All is gathered. And so, 2021, this will be our word. There are at least a dozen ways to consider what it means to gather–so perhaps we will walk through them all together as we step through the days.
I’ll gather you. You gather me.
And let me know if you are ready to walk with me this year as we consider the twelve ways to gather. You know I’m a long-road walker…and I’d love to be on this journey with you. Let me also know your word of the year if you select one, so I may be praying for and with you as the theme is revealed in your days.