My Candle Wish for the New Year

As I sat down to have my coffee this morning, I found myself staring at the words on the back of my badger crest mug, the traits of the house. Loyalty, kindness, honesty, friendship. As this year starts to see itself out with all its difficulty tonight, I shall light my candle and place it on the porch table again, just as I did at Winterdark (winter solstice), to lend its light to the night as the year slips around the corner. But, as I looked at my mug, I found myself composing my wish. I don’t think it breaks the rules to tell you what this wish and, ultimately, prayer is, as it is for you. For all of us.

I wish you Loyalty, dear Reader. I wish you the loyalty of chosen family, of the dear ones and neighbors with whom you have surrounded yourself and built your little world. I wish you the loving loyalty of any blood family who has stood by you in all and sundry. But, most of all, I wish you the loyalty of empathy, of someone who is as willing to put themselves into your shoes and walk that mile with you (or carrying you) as you would be in your turn. I guess that wish also places a responsibility on you and me, but…that is how it works, isn’t it?

I wish you Kindness, the kind of kindness that wells up from unknown places, the action that springs forward without second-thought or consideration. I wish you the kind of kindness that comes naturally along with the willingness to accept it from others. May you receive kindness without the burden of “paying it back” settling on your shoulders and soul. May you give kindness without the disappointment of expecting reciprocation. I wish you kindness without strings, ribbons, or tags. May you give and receive it in free measure in the coming year, each to each as the moment calls for.

I wish you Honesty, dear heart. I wish you the honesty to admit when things are hard. I wish you the ability to be honest about when you don’t know what to do, what to say, or how to feel. I wish you the honesty to sit in the discomfort without the need to fix things or make it better because, frequently, that is not what we or others need. I wish you the honest boundaries when you cannot take on any more emotional weight and to be able to say so. I wish you the brave honesty to admit when what you are feeling needs more than a “self-care day” or when your sadness needs more than just “a nappy-nap or a snack to get yourself right”. I wish you the honesty to reach out your hand in your struggling and say, “I need help.” And when someone else says so to you in their own desperate turn, I wish you the honesty to see their hurt and their pain, keep trite sympathy behind your teeth, and walk with them in that hard place to their needed next step. I wish you the honesty you need in the moments you face.

Finally, I wish you Friendship. I wish you the type of friendship that rings or texts your phone in the middle of dinner to check in on you, just because. I wish you the type of friendship that holds sacred space for you all to speak into and be heard. I wish you the type of friendship that provides a balm for the hidden wounds you are carrying and recognizes when you just do not have it in you to be effusive. I wish you the quiet friendships that are always there and do not require you to be “on” all the time, but allow you to flop into the pathetic little potato (or, as Gemma Correll puts it, “permanently exhausted pigeon”) you need to be at times. I wish you the soft hands required when your dear one comes to you with their wounds needing tending. When I think of deep, abiding friendship, often the spoken words of Sara Bareilles’s song “You Matter to Me” come back:

I hope someday, somebody wants to hold you for twenty minutes straight
They don’t pull away, they don’t look at your face
[…] All they do is wrap you up in their arms and hold on tight without an ounce of selfishness in it
[…] I hope you become addicted to sayin’ things and having them matter to someone.

I wish you to be able to be the friend that is needed and to have the friendship that you need, dear Reader.

As 2021 turns the far corner and 2022 peeks around the near one, I wish all of these things for you. I wish you these pillars that hold us up in the hard times. As I light the candle tonight and set it against the darkness amidst the turning of the world, I pray that you will feel a warmth…somehow, somewhere…and you will know it to be someone who cares about you. I wish you the gentlest of New Years, dear one. May it be blest.


The Light Around the Door 2013

As the year begins to slip through the door fastly closing and the light of the new one shining around the one waiting to open. I am not sure where to begin. I mean, you all have been with me over the past year. I am not sure what more I can say than what has already been said. But maybe I’ll try.

This time last year I was awash with worry, fear, and despair over the care of my family, of how I was going to help take care of them. This year, the New Year has almost snuck up on me. I don’t feel so much trepidation at its arrival. There are still things to worry about but so much more to be thankful for and celebrate in.

My husband found a new job, two of them actually, teaching in a new school but also as a preacher for a small country church. I’m so amazingly proud of him for bearing through a very difficult school year last year and then going through all the rigamarole of interviews in order to find a new job. I also am extremely proud of him, even more so because he has gotten back into ministry, to which he has felt a ¬†leading for a long, long while. It is a great amount of work but I cannot express just how proud of him and proud to be with him I am. He is an amazing man with an even more amazing heart and I am proud to call him my husband, my lover, my mate, and my partner.

My baby girl has gone from a tiny, swaddled newborn to a stepping, babbling toddler with bundles of personality. ¬†I am amazed by her every day. Amazed, overjoyed, stressed out, chest puffed out with pride, made a nervous wreck, a sobbing mess, and a woman with stitches in her side from laughing so much at this little girl’s antics. She can now show you that she is one year old (by holding up that little index finger), and we are working on teaching her to sign “tiger” so she can tell us when she would like to watch her favorite cartoon: “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood”.

It has been a whirlwind year of changes and growth. We have been blessed by friends and family beyond words and for that I am grateful beyond measure. Thank you for an amazing year and I look forward to another such one.