Thursday, January 10, 2013

Choosing a Theme

Every year my family has a New Year's Eve party that is themed - we pick and watch a movie (2012 was The Princess Bride and 2013 will be Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), dress like characters from it, have themed food and generally good times are had by all.  One of the reasons that this party has been successfully going on for 10 years now is because I'm not in charge of planning it.  Don't get me wrong - I can put together an event, but I'm TERRIBLE at choosing a theme.  I can riff on someone else's theme, I just can't choose my own.  My son will be three this April and I'm hoping he is okay with the "Birthday Party" themed party I'm considering, b/c I don't really understand the need to have an elaborately planned and activity coordinated party for toddlers.

Which brings me to a current problem I'm having: in which I'm trying to pick a word that will be my "theme" for 2012.  I got the idea from this blog that I've enjoyed reading the last few months, and I like the premise of a themed word rather than resolutions that will probably go unfulfilled.  But, like I said before, I'm bad with themes.

Sometimes I think of grand words like - RENEW or RESOLUTE or RECOVER.  Other times I think about simpler words like - SOFTLY or DAWN or BREATH.  And then I get overwhelmed by all the words I could choose and I quietly spiral out mentally with defeating thoughts like "how would you even DO this, anyway?" or "you can't just choose a word, you have to come up with a PLAN and you're BAD AT THAT." And then I end up here on this blog, feeling stupid and powerless and also lazy.  I can't even pick a word? What is wrong with me?

I'm trying not to be so hard on myself.  Also, I'm trying to be HONEST with myself while still trying to challenge myself.  I've spent so much of the last 3 years (?!) in recovery from moments so painful they seem to steal the air from my lungs, and I want to do more than just recover, survive, plod on, wait patiently, etc., etc., etc.  It's like I need a new mission statement, a purpose for myself that is more than just "one day at a time."  That's what this theme word is supposed to be - a succinct mission for myself.   And I don't want it to be just wrapped up in my vocation.  This word needs to be my word-mission for my whole person: the mother, wife, preacher, lover, reader, teacher, baker, jokester, and counselor.  Maybe this is so hard because I haven't felt like a whole person for so long, and the idea of having one word implies I have found a way to fuse again all these disparate parts.  Have I healed enough to be all of these women at the same time? Have I healed enough to be guided by only ONE word?

If you could choose a theme word for your life during this next year, what would it be?
What should mine be?


Abby said...

My word for 2013 is "focus," both because I need to focus to get my PhD done this year, and because I want to be extra-mindful of where I am putting my focus, of what emotional and spiritual places I choose to lean into.

One word suggestion that I have for you (from this post) is "honest." I could see it working on a couple of levels. First, it's good to be honest with yourself as you continue to grieve; there are maybe things you'd rather not do at this point in your life, so it's okay to be honest with the people who love you and with yourself and voice those preferences. Second, honesty and truth telling both in this blog space, which I feel privileged to be part of, and in your wider life as a pastor, wife, daughter, mother, and friend, seems to be a state of being that works well for you.

Erma Ripley said...