Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 for the win!

I suck at blogging with any sort of regularity. It's comically bad. I feel the need to say that. I don't know who I'm even apologizing to, but there ya go. Moving on...

I posted on New Year's Day of 2013 thinking back about 2012 and the dent it had made in my soul.

Ok, well I didn't say that, but it had. In the midst of it, it felt stagnant. It was a treading water, just get through it, dark sort of year. It ended a bit better than it began, but seriously it mostly just was. It was a year for struggling and growing and learning and tears. I had some not so outrageous goals that I failed at or was disappointed in. Relationally, it was a hard year with several people I value. It's funny because nothing extraordinarily terrible happened, but in some ways that is worse. There is nothing to say about 2012 except eww. I see some value in it all now, but I don't want to do 2012 again. Ever.

In comparison, 2013, I'd do that again. Well, ok, going backwards is stupid, but I can't wait to do 2014 because of the foundation 2013 laid. (Ok, and 2012, but, argh! I don't like to give credit to hard things!) 2013 was bliss. It flooded life with light and hope and smiling again. (I'm not this cheesy, so it must be true!)

At the outset of the year I decided there would be no list of goals and no resolutions to break. I was just going to have a word and a bible verse and try to remember to hold fast to the lesson in those things. In part, because the verse touched me in a Christmas Eve service and the concept of a word and a verse got my attention in another service. If I'm honest though, it was also a little because 2012's goals and hopes felt like an epic fail and I just didn't want to go there again.

So, Psalm 46:10 and I set out to have a year of stillness. I decided to just lean into life a bit more. Let it happen and worry less. Just keep moving forward and Let God be in charge (because He is anyway) and just love and be loved and live my life as it comes worrying about it less and taking it in stride. I wanted to try to cease striving - because trying to control everything is exhausting and it sucks and I suck at it. I failed at the not worrying, not striving, part with great regularity. It got in a little though, I think.

And the year, well, it was awesome. I'm not about to say that it was because I had this non-resolution. I think it was God and timing and just the way of things. I think the non-resolution helped me more clearly step back and see how great life was falling into place around me though. It gave me the peace to enjoy and not race on to control the next thing.

And I liked the out of control of it all because it told the truth.

Relationally, well, I win. I have this extraordinary man in my life. And I could gush extensively, but I'll save that for him and just say: I win! He is more than I knew to want and things I didn't know I needed. I was never the girl rushing to find a man and I don't regret that one bit. Still, I can't imagine being more grateful to have someone's life woven into mine. I am all in and so pleased. (Ok, fine, I'm gushing a little...)

It's been a really good friends and family year too. I feel like I've often had an internal battle getting time and boundaries with people right. It was still challenging this year, but, by accident, I learned to better embrace the concept of quality over quantity. I didn't try so hard this year and it came easier. I was busier professionally and personally and the man got the vast quantity of my time (no regrets!) and yet not being stressed about the rest of it and being intentional about the use of time instead of the length of time made the quality of other interactions much sweeter.

Professionally, it was a good year too. Honestly, it feels like a blur, this last year. I've gotten to do a lot of things that I loved though. My title changed, transitioning me from mostly a single project to more big picture advocacy and education. I love the variety and challenge of it all. I've spent more time on Capitol Hill and learned that I still have a lot to learn, but mostly I just have a lot of people to get to know better. In the end, they're the who and how of getting things done. Luckily the task of getting to know that good-intentioned, passionate, brilliant crowd is one of the great privileges of my job. I've had other crazy, awesome opportunities too. I participated, in a small way, in a US Supreme Court case by submitting an amicus brief and I think it really could have some long-term positive implications for many children. I got to be more involved with several internationally focused efforts - including a trip to Japan, which was an amazing privilege. I've also been put in a place to do some media interaction. Truthfully, the media terrifies me. I'm terrified I'll say something ridiculous or be taken out of context. I'm trying to learn to be grateful for the opportunity even if it terrifies me though, and it's getting easier. Again, people are at the center of my progress. Turns out, the media are just storytellers and I have mostly good stories to tell about the great hope for children in families. Even when the story is hard though, it still needs to be told. So, I'm gaining respect for these storytellers in the hope that we'll all get to a place where more of the good stories are told to inspire more good stories.

2013 was a winner. And I can't help but think about what might be to come in 2014. I have high hopes (dangerous territory, dreaming) and I'm so grateful to end 2013 delighted and expectant. I'm thinking lately and today especially about words and verses that might form a theme. I have some strong contenders, but I'm not committed to anything yet. Any suggestions?

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