On January 1 of each year, I try to reflect on the good news of the past year, forgive the pain, and gaze upon the blank slate of the new with great anticipation.
As I get older, I think of each new year as an amazing gift.
A friend once wished me a happy birthday, on “your fortieth year to heaven.”
That was 25 years ago, but I still enjoy the image of life as a journey toward a destination, a mysterious, wondrous transformation even greater than that of birth.
Each of us has a number for our gravestone, our date of birth.
Each of us knows that someone will chisel a new number after the hyphen.
Every time we turn a new page on the calendar, we are a little closer to that date. Within that context, we can savor more completely the joys of each year.
Top Events of 2013:
- The completion of each of the things on my 2012 list, beginning with the goal of living one good day at a time.
- Publication September 19 of Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World.
- An amazing launch tour described in this post: After the First Blush: So, How’s the Book Doing?
- Generous endorsements and reviews at Spirituality and Practice, Parker Palmer’s facebook page, FeedtheSpirit, , Mennonite World Review, Christianity Today, Christian Century, Englewood Review of Books.
- Teaching an honors course on memoir at my own alma mater. Holding the last class in my own home. Hearing that at least some of the students called it their best course ever.
- Travel to Orlando, FL; the Old South; New York City; Pittsburgh,PA; Tangier Island; Victoria, BC.
- Celebrations of granddaughter’s dedication; three milestone birthdays in our family (ages 30,40, and 65)
Goals for 2014
- daily rituals that remind me of my mission: to prepare for the hour of my death by living one good day at a time, and to help others do the same. This is also my simplicity goal. Death concentrates the mind and the heart, to paraphrase Mark Twain and Samuel Johnson.
- travel to at least eight places (plans so far include Laurelville and Lancaster, PA; Mexico; Kansas City and other Kansas towns; Elkhart County, IN; Holland, MI). I would love to do a West Coast trip, a Canada trip. I am planning my travel for the year now, so please let me know if you would like me to speak in a location near you or have a venue in mind for a book talk. Have book, will travel. 🙂
- a possible new e-book using the best of Magical Memoir Moments to help inspire other people to remember stories from their past and build a legacy. If you have signed up in the right-hand corner, you get these weekly photos and short prompts from me. Would you value having the best of them in one e-book at a low price (likely between .99 – and 2.99)?
I am about to set out with Stuart on a four-mile walk, one of the ways I am living a good day today.
With every step I take, I breathe out a little prayer of gratitude for the gifts of 2013 (especially for each of you, dear readers and friends who made so many of those dreams possible). I also breathe in the sunshine, the mountains, my partner’s smile, and all the goals for 2014 above.
This morning my friend Richard Kauffman asked his Facebook friends what has become clearer to them in 2013. Another friend, Jim Bowman, responded by quoting Fr. Richard Rohr:
“Indeed, the goal of mature religion is to help us die before we die, so we are ready for our real life!”
Father Richard and I appear to be thinking similar thoughts about the relationship of death to happiness. I take that as a sign that I am on the right path.
What about you? Here’s a chance to respond to my goals and to be accountable for your own goals of 2014 and to celebrate and/or lament that which you experienced in 2013.
Or, take Richard’s question instead: “What has become clearer to you in the last year?”