Happy Winter, Happy Cold Moon, Happy Almost-New Year.
I see a lot of people reflecting on 2020 in all sorts of ways— tell me what you grieve, tell me what was good about this year, tell me what you wished would have happened, and what you might wish for 2021. We don’t fully know what’s coming, but we are trying to set some sort of intention toward it.
This morning, the last essay from my first book Glory Happening came to mind. It’s called In The Meantime, and it really embodies this time we are in, this liminal space, this threshold we are standing at, wondering what’s on the other side. We are waiting here for what’s to come without fully knowing how we feel about it. We are here, in the meantime, marking our days, remembering 2020, and asking how we heal or grieve or celebrate and move beyond it into 2021.
I write in the essay:
What we know is Spirit-truth, that the Spirit holds us, guides us, moves us through life.
And in that we are secure.
There are some words that I’ve shared again and again throughout my speaking events in 2020, and I cry every time I read them. They are by author Arundhati Roy, and she says this:
Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.
Again, we are caught in this meantime space, this portal, this gateway between worlds, and we are asked what we will carry with us into the new space that waits on the other side of this. Are we ready to imagine another world and ready to fight for it? Are we even ready to ask that question?
The snow has fallen here a couple of times in Vermont, bringing with it the childlikeness I haven’t felt in years. We’ve gone sledding, I’m learning to ski, we slip and slide on frozen puddles and collect pine cones that have been buried in ice. I’m alive, even as I grieve, and every day I mostly have utterances of gratitude to give this good earth who constantly invites us into her story. In the meantime, we watch the moon shine every night that we can see her, and we remember that we are not alone.
“The meantime seasons remind us that what we don’t understand is exactly what the Mystery of God is meant to be for us,” I write in Glory Happening.
I don’t write this to say that we have to make meaning out of 2020 and insert God into spaces where it hurts to imagine it. What I am saying is that Mystery exists in the liminal space, in the in-between, at the thresholds— and always has.
So, if you’re tired, you don’t have to come up with a series of New Year’s Resolutions to convince yourself that 2021 will be better than 2020. Hold space for your grief, and look forward to whatever dreams you’ll dream when you can. The meantime spaces allow us to be exactly as we are, right here and right now.
I am grateful for that.
I was so excited to be able to write my first piece for SELF Magazine this month! It’s called Holidays 2020: It’s Okay to Just Let the Holidays Suck This Year, and I wanted to address the hard spaces between grief and celebration here. I hope it reaches whoever needs it.
I also wrote a piece for Advent, but it applies to all year long, because I basically wrote about how I have no idea who Jesus really is and that’s got to be okay as I ask questions on this journey. If you’re in the same place, you might like my piece: The Enigma of the Christmas Season.
Here’s what I’m taking with me into 2021
Thinking back over an entire year of my favorite things is really hard for me, so I’ll leave you with some of the things/practices I’m taking with me into the next year:
The Calm App (specifically the sleep stories read by Erik Braa about trains). I’m not a huge app person, but this one has been worth the money. I listen to the sleep stories, as do my kids, and the soundscapes really help me fall to a peaceful sleep at night and during naps as well.
Journaling is something I leaned into again in 2020, and I’ll continue it in 2021, marking the days and remembering what’s going on in our life. When I’m stressed, getting words out of my body and onto the page is really therapeutic.
Sudtana Lime, Turmeric and Jasmine Rice Herbal Face Mask. I’ve not invested in facial care very well, but I’m learning to. This face mask is wonderful and I’m definitely taking it with me into 2021.
This recipe for Coconut Milk Braised Chicken with Sweet Potato and Lime is one of the best recipes I’ve had in a while, and as winter continues to settle in, soups and stews are exactly the comfort I need to enter into the new year.
Happy New Year, friends!