Monday, January 02, 2006

New Year's Day: Twenty-Four Hours of Mixed Feelings, One Minute of Revelation

I had a hard time with New Year's Day.

As we were watching the last seconds of 2005 tick away with the revelers in Time Square (on the tv), I turned to hubby, ready to smooch up the first seconds of 2006, and, to my own surprise, said, "I'm sad."

We kissed. I pulled back, "Yeah, I'm feeling sad."

He said something optimistic and encouraging, as he always does, my sweet babboo, my rock, my honeybunny, my schmoopiewumps.

But the mixed feelngs--expectation at what a new year brings, fear of the same, a sense of getting old, a dream of being able to restore a youthful vision, a sense of being able to create something beautiful and new and better this year with writing and with my spiritual life, a fear of terrible failure at both, a sense of melancholic nostalgia for New Year's past, when Mami and Papi and Tia and other loved ones were around to hug and eat grapes* with, a happiness at remembering that I have been loved and that I am loved.

I am a person riddled with fear and anxiety. I pray over it a lot, and sing "God is In Control," but there it is. Too much is not in my control, and that is often terrifying. The future that a times feels full of promise is also one that at times seems full of threatening events-to-come. (Think: worsening health, loss of more loved ones, hurricane seasons as bad or worse as the past one, perils of all sorts that plague large cities and aging bodies, the pitfalls that loom for families when conflicts arise.)

Hubby wants me to focus on gains, on the promise of the what-is-to-be.

I fear what may be taken away, the loss of what is.

So, I think of what my online pal Camy Tang did, from an idea which she nicked from my online pal Marilynn Griffith: Pray for leading. Get a word for 2006. (Visit their blogs for their words, if you're curious.)

And I waited for my word.

It came. Rather shockingly, too, out of the blue of heaven.

Mine is courage. The flip-side word of which is trust.

I really, really thought my word was going to be "renewal." It's a word that's been rolling around in my head. I was going to write a post about "renewal," with chapters and verses, but when I came to sit down, I got a whole different word. Instead of coming out of my head, it came out of my spirit. And I sure know it didn't come from ME, cause it's pretty near the bottom of the list of words The Mir would choose.

How 'bout that? God, He likes to surprise us, doesn't He?

I am not courageous. I remember a time when I was so much more so. But when my health fell totally apart in 1989-90, and stayed broken for years, badly broken, rendering me unable to work and depressed, I went into "reduce risk" and "security" mode. I still have several chronic conditions that affect my daily levels of energy, my mental focus, my breathing, my skin, my eyes, my ears, my endocrine system, my mood...well, I'm a mess. So, I've been afraid to take risks. Having a body that doesn't work right, feeling ill a lot, that saps the courage of many. It makes us self-protective, cautious, wary... isolated, even.

I do not want my word to be courage. Really, renewal sounds so much safer. Even love sounds cuddlier and gentler and not prone to give me an asthma attack.

Courage makes me think of pain, blood, endurance, stamina, tribulation. It brings to mind images of prophets standing against the multitudes, of fighters facing the enemy, of martyrs standing in dusty colliseums, waiting to be devoured. It makes me picture missionaries plunging into jungles, doctors facing contagion, widows raising little ones alone, orphans fending for themselves. Courage seems tied to... DANGER!

But God has told me this: "Be strong."

And this: "Be courageous."

So, here am I, Mir the Wuss, Mir the Risk-Avoiding Weenie, asking for prayers that I might be more like Joshua than Jonah, because this is my verse for the year, to go with my word for the year:

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:9

Courage. Imagine that.

Heaven is laughing up a storm at the idea.

* Eating 12 grapes at midnight is a Cuban tradition--one grape for each month of the newly rung in year.


Camy Tang said...

WOW that is totally cool, Mir. I'll be praying for you. Pray for me, too--mine is Perseverance. Blech.

We'll both need all the help we can get, huh?


Mirtika said...

Too, true, Miz Camy.

Courage and Perseverance. Sheesh. :)

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I don't even try for the courage or perseverance. All I hang onto is Phil. carries me through each and every day :-)

The Curmudgeon's Rant said...

Courage is a good word. It means that we see the danger and yet we will follow God anyway. Jesus sees you as Mir, the giant killer. Now go and beat the devil with an ugly stick.

Mirtika said...

I want to gently negotiate with Giants using Powerpoint presentations and gourmet coffee and croissants. No?

Well, okay, then, hand me my club.

Anonymous said...

:) Powerpoint, croissants AND gourmet coffee? They'd need COURAGE to turn that down. Beautiful post, Mir. Good word too. Thanks for sharing.
Mary G.

April said...

What a great word. I think fear and the need for safety are a common dilemmas, or maybe I'm just projecting :-).