Yesterday, the Day of Epiphany, fell on a Sunday,
and a little group from our church
jumped into conversation about the wise men, the star, and global warming,
in response to the sermon.
So, I was receptive when my friend Richard
posted a wonderful epiphany reflection, which begins this way:
For this Time Being – after Auden, 2019
By Maren Tirabassi
Well, so this is that again.
We are still dismantling trees,
unwinding the lights
of yet another year’s celebration,
packing our traditions in cardboard boxes
up to the attic, kissed with uncertainty –
for we always know more
about Advent than Epiphany.
The children are adults –
they’ve come for Christmas
but we gave them our best gifts years ago,
and we can no longer expect them
to follow our stars, only their own.
Our parents are children now
and we work to show them a hint of wonder,
afraid each holiday will be their last. . . .
I immediately recognized a kindred spirit in this poem,
both at the annual ritual
of the new year and the place in life where I find myself now,
between adult star-following children and my elderly star-following mother.
I’ve spent this morning meditating on how Epiphany
might light the path for the new year.
My word for 2019 is Jubilee.
Not only has this word taken root in my writing since 2016
but 2019 is the year Stuart and I anticipate celebrating our Jubilee Anniversary.
So am I doubling down on New Year’s Resolutions?
I am devoting the month of January to purging and pruning, borrowing from some unlikely bedfellows:
PURGE, says Marie Forleo.
Write down everything you want to accomplish this year.
Move it from your head to paper or computer.
For everything you want to do use three filter questions:
- What is the payoff for making this project happen?
- How will this project ultimately benefit others?
- Who will you have to become in order to make this goal come alive? (Does it cause you to grow?)
Marie Kondo “tidies up” by a similar method. She dumps out all the clothes unto the middle of the room. Then she asks the person who owns them to evaluate each item. Does it spark joy? If yes, the item goes into the closet. If not, it gets thanked for its service and recycled. Her series on Netflix right now is good television.
The poem that started this revery
by Maren Tirabassi, above,
ends with these lines:
Though the Time Being
is still and always redeemed
with its hope and suffering –
for surely, if Epiphany means anything at all,
some trailing light of the star
lit the flight to Egypt –
and we guess our ordinary days
will take extraordinary courage,
every one a rehearsal for Holy Week and Easter,
the Spirit practicing
across our keys some scales of joy.
I sense the Spirit ready to practice scales of joy,
even while I gather courage for the ordinary days ahead.
I am actually looking forward, now, to both purging and pruning.
In this year of Jubilee,
I wish all of you a jubilant New Year that will spark your
deepest joy and provide solace in your darkest hours.
What one thing do you feel called to purge or prune?