Easing into 2008

One of the things I’ve noticed about myself is that I am abrupt, in the sense that I don’t tend to make smooth transitions. This is in conversation, in work, in relationships, in seasons. I function as though one thing stops and another thing picks up and starts with no overlap. I think this is due to a few factors, namely that my brain moves fairly quickly and I’m trying to catch up, that I’m an introvert and in my head a lot so it’s always a jarring realization that I’m the only one in there and other people don’t get where I’m going. It’s as though I metaphorically walk with my head down, watching my feet, and am not fully engaged with the outside world.

An interesting thing is occurring in me, however, as time marches on (and, as Dolly Parton says, marches across my face) and things are relaxing and smoothing out for me. The brain is probably slowing down. I am working at looking up more. As I described to my Spiritual Director in our last meeting, I’m learning about the external component of spiritual formation as lived out in a very community-oriented church.

One of the things I noticed this year is that I was not so abrupt with my celebration of Christmas. Usually, the Christmas music doesn’t come on until 2 days after Thanksgiving (b/c of our family observance on Friday) and it goes off on December 26th. This year, I could not stop listening to it. I’m sure it’s partly because I have impeccable taste in music, and I have a great mix on the (new – Merry Christmas to me!) iPod. I listened to it all the way through the New Year, and it didn’t feel wrong at all. I wanted to draw it out and relax into the new season.

I’ve also been tolerant of other people’s prolonged observance. Tolerant, I am not. This is not one of my words in the “Describe Me” application on Facebook. The “demure” word is a joke. In fact, I get really annoyed with the whole “how were your holidays” and “happy new year” that we’re socially obligated to roll out when you see someone for the first time the whole month of January. Get over it. Move on. Do your taxes. Not so this year. I’m sure a great deal of it has to do with the presence of the babies – they make the holidays so delightful and make you want to draw it out for a while longer. That, and I just want to know more about people’s lives. Seriously. This must be that “caring” I’ve heard so much about. Kidding.

One of the things I’ve only sort of “resolved” about this new year is to be more contemplative and devotional about my schedule. I feel a bit like I careened out of 2007 and slammed into 2008 in a way reminiscent of the scene in the first Mission Impossible movie with Tom Cruise flying off the top of that exploding train. Of course, at the onset of the New Year I was immediately presented with an extremely tempting ministerial educational opportunity, but chose to decline it because I would much rather devote my energy to doing my current activities well rather than doing more things poorly.

All that to say, here’s to a calmer, more relaxed and compassionate (especially to myself) New Year. 2008 is here, people – let’s take a nap!

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