I began reading a profound book the other day. This was perfect reading for the end of one year and the dawn of a fresh one (One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Life Fully Right Where You Are). The author writes about thanksgiving being central to our faith, about gratitude in all things being the secret to true joy. She spent a year writing down every little thing she noticed about everyday life that was beautiful. She ponders the nature of God, of grace, of suffering. Good, heady stuff. I read and drank it all in. I went on Facebook and scrolled down through everyone's resolve for the coming year. I will eat better...save more money...forgive...even spend less time on Facebook.
Oh the irony, that this book about a woman who finally stopped doing and just received God's grace would instead threaten to set me on a treadmill of trying to, well, be as close to perfect as possible.
What hit me was this, as I decided to go to bed and start over: we must give ourselves permission to fail, and then we must start over. This is of course why so many New Year's resolutions are never kept. It's not the giving up, the "falling off the wagon." It's that we then decide not to try again.
At school, the flakes were still falling. I pictured Anna and her class running to the windows to watch (Anna confirmed this is indeed exactly what happened). "It's snowing!!" a kindergarten boy shouted with glee. I watched the way the wind whipped the flakes like river currents on the sidewalk. They danced with us to the school's front door.
I can live on a busy street near the city and still see the beauty. I can fail but not give up. I can be me...not the farmer's wife...not my friends. And love me in all my imperfection, while still accepting the grace to be just a little better. This is my New Year's resolution.