31 December 2009

A Yearly Update

A year ago today, I wrote about my word for 2009.  "Enough," I said, "means that there's breathing space, room to be tired and stop striving, stop feeling like I should be doing more, being more, becoming more."

And this has been a year of enough.

Dave and I have had enough each month to live on. In fact, given our fairly simple lifestyle, we've had more than enough and we've been able to save. I found a place of balance between work, home, and my own heart, a place where I could be satisfied with "less than perfect" in each place while still pursuing my goals in each one. I even managed to get it through my head that I am, in fact, a human being and that, since God made me that way, He must not expect me to do everything that it sometimes seemed like I should do.

In some ways, 2009 has actually been a year of abundance. "Abundant normalcy" is what I've taken to calling it, at least in my own head. Not much out of the ordinary has happened. Most days, I've gone to work, gone to the gym, foraged some dinner, and spent a little time with Dave before falling asleep so I could wake up and do the same again. But along the way, I've found treasures in that. There's something about routine, even when it fills life with things to do, that opens up space for the mind and heart to grow. I don't understand it, but I know it's true.

Some highlights of our abundant normalcy:
  • Finding our favorite easy dinners. Homemade pizza, chicken with brown rice and vegetables, soup and tuna sandwiches, rice and veggie cassarole
  • Watching TV with Dave. Allowing our minds to rest while we spend time together offers great blessing. 
  • Waking up together. I hate the mornings where Dave leaves early, because there's no one to roll over and hold when I wake up.
  • Working out. There's not much better for me than 30 minutes a day spent sweating. I think it keeps me sane, some weeks.
  • Starting my own business. Early last year (I think this was it), I walked away from writing as a career. Not as a practice, but as a career. At the end of the summer, I felt called to pursue commercial writing again, and found doors opening. At this point, it's a solid part-time gig that may turn into something more, and I love it.
  • Our little home. It's a quirky apartment in a building that looks so much like the ones on either side that people have trouble finding it sometimes, but over the past year it's become home. Maybe it's the things we've added to make it look like home, but I prefer to think it's how we've learned to live and love here.
  • Our marriage. This was the year where Dave and I transitioned from being newlyweds into . . . well, into whatever comes next. I can't give you a date or a time when the metamorphosis occurred, but occur it did. Being married feels normal now, and I love that.
  • Quiet rhythms. Five minutes to pray here, ten to clean over here, and thirty to read, if I'm lucky, over here. Not much changes in a few minutes a day, but a year of rhythms is good for the soul, and a lot can change in five minutes and five minutes and five minutes and . . .
Standing where I am now, looking back over 2009 feels odd, like I'm waving goodbye to a little quiet lake among the mountains, one that most people don't know about, where I was invited to dig and and rest for a while, and where I'm now leaving.

Leaving, you may ask? Why leaving?

Ah, 2010. It's going to be an interesting year, a year where this abundantly normal state that I've come to find as enough and more than enough is going to get ripped up like a piece of old carpet. And who knows what will replace it?

To start with, one of these days we're going to have a baby. I mean "one of these days" quite literally--it looks like she won't be Daddy's little tax break, but our girlie will be here before February 1. Though maybe she's an example of the abundantly normal, too . . . I mean, how ordinary is it to have a baby? And yet what a special little gift we'll be unwrapping here in the next month!

On top of that, Dave is losing his job at the end of June. That's both exhilarating and unnerving. It frees us up to do so many things, mostly things that I don't think we would have done with the safety and security of a job with benefits keeping us here. On the other hand, the possibilities and lack of concrete direction can be overwhelming. We've wanted to move for so long, to live and quest and serve in so many ways, and now that we have the chance we keep looking at each other and asking Where? and To do what? and How will we have health insurance? It's sort of like going over the edge when you're rappelling--sheer thrill and sheer terror so mixed together you couldn't distill them if you tried.

Trust, God whispers, and hope.  And I do, though I also grieve the loss of this for Dave and for me and for our family. We're trying to stand against the winds with open hands, not forcing things but ready to receive what's there and bring it into our lives and our selves.

So, I don't know what 2010 has to bring, but I know it's not the ordinariness of 2009 and I'm sure it's going to be an adventure. As a great character in a great story once said when told that something would be an adventure, "Applying Father's definition of an adventure being a series of unlooked-for and uncomfortable events, Theo guessed that it would be."

Here we go!


christianne said...

oh, how good it was to read your words in this space again. and reading this post felt so much like sinking slowly into a really good book ... you settle in, turn to the first page, begin reading, then realize you are slowly being taken into a new world you don't want to leave. that's how reading this post felt. by the time i got to the quiet little lake that you've been resting in and digging around in for a year, i was so totally there with you. i could feel the sadness of waving goodbye to it for the year ahead.

and yet i could also feel your open-handedness in the face of risk and fear in this coming year. i feel your love and excitement for your little girl to arrive. i feel your awareness of possibilities not yet discovered.

i love you, my friend. i'm so glad to be sharing the journey of life with you, even if from afar. happy new year to you.

Tammy said...

Hi Sarah
Happy New Year! I read your blog last night, right before I went to bed actually. So you are saddling up for the new year. Yeah me too I thought my New Year's resolution would be to start smoking and quit exercising.

I liked your little reference there to the baby, "what a special little gift we'll be unwrapping here in the next month!" That is a cute picture. Next month! Wow! Blessings, love, and peace as we embark upon another stage of life.

kirsten michelle said...

It is so good to hear your writing voice again. I'm glad to hear that it's a practice you've maintained (because you are so gifted with words) and I'm doubly glad that you're offering it up to our eyes and minds and hearts again.

I do sense a lot of what Christianne already wrote about: a sense of utter contentment, and an open-handedness about what is to come. It seems that quiet little lake in the mountain has offered such quiet peace, such simple abundance that it might be hard to leave. And yet I sense the expectation of the adventure that awaits you both ... er, that awaits you all in the coming months and year.

It is good to hear your voice again and I wish you all blessings and all peace in 2010. Can't wait to meet little Bebop!! :o)

Jessica said...

Sarah, I'm sorry to hear Dave's going to be losing his job, but I'm so excited for you meeting your baby soon, and glad that you have had a year of peace before you dive into new adventures.

L.L. Barkat said...

Silent here. Reaching out to put my hands atop yours. That's all.

A baby. A baby! (that will break the silence :)

Sarah said...

Christianne, happy new year to you, too . . . possibility is a strange thing. So there and so not there at the same time.

Tammy--thank you for your benediction here.

Kirsten, we can't wait to meet her either.

Jess--thanks . . . hopefully these will be the good kind of adventures.

LL--I need all the hands on mine I can get, lately ;) And yes . . . I'm fairly certain this one will not remain silent long!!