I sat down a bit ago to journal because the first day of 2015 was not what I'd hoped it would be. I did not spend the day thinking glowing, hopeful thoughts as I'd hoped I would; I did not go to the places I wanted to go or do the things I wanted to do. And when I began to look back over the day whilst brushing my teeth 20 minutes ago, I did not have visions of rainbows and unicorns dancing through my head like some of you might have. (Did you? If so, you must do a remarkable job brushing your teeth). I think you could say I've spent the day in a funk.
I couldn't pinpoint the exact source of the funk, so I decided to journal. The process of writing, for me, works sort of like a miner who crawls into the mines to search for and retrieve whatever is of worth in those deep, hidden spaces. Writing helps me discover what's really going on in the mines of my soul when plain old introspection cannot.
I was about to write an opening line in my journal along the lines of, "Well this day was hard," when a little voice (maybe a miner who'd been in the mines for awhile) said, "write a list of all the good stuff about today, first!"
So I did. One line of good stuff; semi-colon; another line of good stuff; semi-colon; another line of good stuff; semi-colon. Seventeen semi-colons later and most of the bubbling, inner dissonance that had been swelling in my soul throughout the day was gone. Peace had replaced it.
I often try to practice gratitude when the funk settles, but I do it in my head, not on a piece of paper. The mental approach has never worked for me the way writing my list tonight worked. There was something magical about writing it all out. I'm reading a book called Anatomy of the Soul in which the author explains that the act of writing your story can rewire your brain in ways mere thinking cannot because of how writing integrates both the right and left hemispheres of the brain. So maybe I should do this whole gratitude list-writing thing more often.
And so, in order to celebrate and set a precedent for the New Year, I've compiled a short list of the things I am grateful for today:
1. Yesterday, shortly before I went to a New Year's Eve party, I had a cup of hot chocolate. And there, nestled in the cocoa, was A RAINBOW. As my friend pointed out, the bubbles in the cocoa looked like clouds.
If that's not a delightful end to a year, I don't know what is.
2. These band-aids my sister got me last year:
Now you understand why I sort of look forward to paper cuts.
Also, these have the potential to seriously improve my teeth-brushing experience.
3. My family.
I loved growing up in a family with four kids. I loved my mom and dad's creativity and sense of adventure. I loved the church my parents raised us in. I loved the cul-de-sac we grew up in. And now that the six of us have grown through decades of life together, I love 'em all even more.
4. Clean flannel sheets and fleece pajama pants. That's two things, but they go together like donuts and milk; wind and sails; Bert and Ernie; ice cream and cones; bacon and...well, just about everything.
5. My friends.
|Some of the crew at our Black and Gold New Year's Eve party|
They love to dance.
|This photo doesn't do justice to this group's mad moves|
They love to laugh:
They love to adventure, travel, and talk late into the night, and best of all, they love Jesus and are fiercely committed to serving him.
6. You guys. Writing here — processing my life with you — feels comfortable, like fuzzy slippers and a cuppa rainbow hot chocolate. I also love hearing from you and keeping up with your lives via your blogs. If I haven't met you, shoot me an email! And if you have a blog, send me the link, I want to read it!
7. God's grace. Sometimes I close my eyes and I think of the most gracious people I know, and I imagine that I can bottle up all their grace. Then I imagine pouring that bottle of grace into the expanse of God's grace. It's like pouring a teardrop into the ocean. It's mind-blowing and heart-swelling that Jesus, the King of Kings, is not only mindful of us, but is also drenching us with his unfathomable grace in every new moment of every new day.
I pray we would all grow in our understanding of how high, deep and wide is God's love for us in 2015. Happy New Year, my friends!
Sweet dreaming (and catching up on sleep) tonight,
© by scj