The funny thing about making a resolution is that it does not begin with the doing of a thing, or the not doing of it, as in some cases.
To be resolute…it all has to do with the heart. It’s got to begin there to have any real say so and that’s where I’ve been messing it up.
Not on purpose, mind you. But that’s just it…resolutions are supposed to be done on purpose and without purpose or heart conviction anything can throw you off.
I looked back, not really with much longing and regret like Lot’s wife lest I render myself fully salted, unable to move forward; I just wanted to get a reminder of what I actually hoped to accomplish in 2013. I figured if I wrote it down for all to see, then I would be more apt to keep my word. I had three so-called resolutions for the last year…eat more, read more, walk more. I did one really well, one not so well, and one hardly at all. According to the New Year’s Resolution Grading System I am probably hovering around a C minus.
What I did really well: I did eat more.
There were more people, more new people, actually, around our table this year than ever before. And we, joyfully, were at the table of others.
Sharing a meal with old friends, new friends, expanding families; this is where it gets real.
We let our guard down when we lift our forks up.
We make fumbling eye contact when we pass the salt to someone new, but it’s a getting- to -know- you fumble, so we laugh.
We spill our stories over dishes.
We reveal our selves upon full tables.
What I did not do so well: I did not complete my desired reading list.
I did go to the library twice to get “Les Miserables ” only to find one copy in French and the other incomplete; volume two had gone missing. A busier than usual work schedule filled up in the Spring and then I did not transition well into a new routine over the summer. It left me pretty much book-less and garden-less, meaning, although, I did read, I did it a lot less. I did garden, but it was a less cultivated plot, a less loved space this year. For the better part of the year my reading companion was Paul in the Book of Acts. Not bad company…but I missed the pile of books.
What I hardly did at all:
As for walking, I did a few loops around the neighborhood but nothing to get the heart pumping or the mind cleared. I even bought new sneakers. I hardly broke them in. I miss my dog. It’s not the same traversing the streets of my little village alone and yes it’s been almost three years since he left us, so I had a go at the track nearby, but I hated it, all that looping round and round on flat ground. Besides, this new trajectory of learning to live with the suddenly of the unexpected meant my walking routine had to change.
What am I saying? There is no routine. Each day is a surprise most of the time.
Sometimes the phone rings for a teaching job while it is still dark and other times the early morning silence means I am being led into plan B.
Most days are spent bent somewhere.
Bent toward a child working out sums.
Bent toward a heart working out revelation.
Bent toward prayer like never before.
Some days things get scrubbed clean, other days the laundry has been forgotten in the washing machine. Some days snow forts need to be built, other days the fortresses surrounding wounded mind sets need to come down.
Although there may not be much of a routine, there is a certain rhythm.
Trouble is, I’ve been used to waltzing.
These days my life is more like a jazz syncopation.
The key to jazz is improvisation. Improvisation is inventing something at the spur of the moment in response to a particular situation. In jazz, the musicians, although committed to staying to true to the pre-determined tune, are free to improvise, to have what someone calls a”musical conversation” within the piece. This means the piece is never played exactly the same way twice.
I am thinking about the Daniel man, the one who stares at lions. Captured during a brutal invasion he is suddenly out of his routine and at the mercy of someone else who now calls all the shots and yet…this Daniel possesses the creativity and the guts to improvise, to invent something at the spur of the moment and still stay true to his resolve of following the one true King no matter how his routines change.
This year’s resolution?
It is a resolute heart. And all the creativity and guts that come with it to improvise, to have a “musical conversation” with the One who is for me.