Holly and I took our first walk outside the neighborhood cul-de-sac this morning. Pink-tipped trees don’t seem like January. and yet. We were both wearing our “heavy coats” because it was freezing (literally, 32 degrees). and I didn’t plan a photo like this to open a first reflection on this year’s One Little Word. and yet.
I had time with my journal a few hours before our walk:
“I am not at all sure what I want to say. maybe just a little about how I am paying attention to the ANDs. thinking/noticing my own choice of words. which is impacting how I think. holding paradox. being uncomfortable.”
Truly, I am trying hard to not say “but” or “or”. To think if I might be able to say “and” instead. (sometimes “or” really is the right choice!)
Thinking about how I chose this word, I flipped back through the pages of my “morning reading” journals*. These past few months have been full of Sarah Bessey, Madeleine L’Engle, Luci Shaw, Diana Butler Bass and Mirabai Starr. I ♥ these women’s voices. I’ve started writing “and.and.and.” in the margins and of course a ♥ or two. or three. (sometimes “or” really is the right choice.)
This entry from January 17 is a great example:
“the path of the mystics … blesses us with an expanded capacity to sit with ambiguity, to treasure vulnerability, to celebrate paradox as the highest truth.” (Mirabai Starr, Wild Mercy, p. 49, emphasis mine)
I’ve been troubled by the reaction to Kobe Bryant’s tragic death. to name him good or bad and judge our response to his passing in that light. He was 41 years old and that’s too young to die. His daughter was with him and she died too. His wife and three children are still living. I am not an NBA fan. I grieve. He has a complicated (and maybe violent) history with women. He had a family. I grieve. He loved basketball. His last tweet was congratulating a fellow player on a huge accomplishment. I grieve.
I wonder why it’s so hard to hold two conflicting ideas in our heads (our hearts?) at once?
I wonder what the woman who sat at her keyboard a year ago and typed out a post about Hope would have thought about where she is today.
Today, I’m ok with it. mostly. sometimes. (and.)
THANK YOU Honoré for taking up Juliann’s mantle and hosting us again. These monthly check-ins are core to my OLW journey.
*These journals are the ones I keep for my spiritual formation reading … always dark early in the morning – it’s for my Friday morning small group (currently Mirabai Starr), which is usually 2-3 mornings a week, and the other days (which is all the rest). I don’t really journal about the other books I’m reading – and this morning’s exercise maybe makes me wish I did. Much of the work I did last year on Hope – and expect to do this year with And – came from that morning reading time. And maybe I need to branch out. The day is a lot longer than the morning. And I read a lot more than those books. (I do have a goal to Read Better this year. and maybe this will be part of it! and wow! how cool is that!)