Friday, January 2, 2015

My Word for 2015

Threshhold: a point of entry or beginning.  Synonyms: start, beginning, commencement, brink, verge, cusp, dawn, inception, day one, opening, debut
In ancient times, wise men and women fled out into the desert to find a place where they could be fully present to God and to their own inner struggles at work within them. The desert became a place to enter into the refiner's fire and be stripped down to one's holy essence. The desert was a threshold place where you emerged different than when you entered.
Many people followed these ammas and abbas, seeking their wisdom and guidance for a meaningful life. One tradition was to ask for a word –  this word or phrase would be something on which to ponder for many days, weeks, months, sometimes a whole lifetime. This practice is connected to lectio divina, where we approach the sacred texts with the same request – "give me a word" we ask – something to nourish me, challenge me, a word I can wrestle with and grow into.  The word which chooses us has the potential to transform us.  Christine Valters Paintner, Phd, REACE 
A week or so ago, Weneki wrote that she had already picked her word for 2015. To say I felt way behind the curve would be an understatement. I still had presents to buy and cards to mail. Pondering anything, let alone one word, seemed like a luxury I couldn't afford.

Soon after at our writing group dinner each of us was asked to quickly pick a word. For a gaggle of writers words came fast and furious. Write. Publish. Courage. Risk.  My word was peace. A word that has little to do with writing, unless you are a child living in a war-torn area and all you want to do is go to school. I carried the word peace around in my heart until yesterday. Of course I long for peace in every nook and cranny of this great big crazy world, but it didn't feel quite right - not me-enough.

Maybe the Divine Vocabularist has nothing better to do than hand out words to those of us who are seeking guidance. Still, I was pleasantly surprised when the word "threshold" jumped out at me yesterday from Jan Richardson's blog. She spoke of "those betwixt and between places that emerge when we have left what is familiar but have not arrived at what lies ahead." She invited her readers to a retreat which would provide an opportunity "to engage your own thresholds and do some reflecting and dreaming there." 

As I read on, I realized that what I had been trying to say in my previous post (see below) about being in the that space between holding on and letting go was really about being on a threshold of something new. I was kind of standing on a threshold and not really knowing it. Like that Chinese saying about a journey of 1000 miles beginning with just one step, it's the same with a threshold. Be it a small, timid baby step, or a big, brave, determined leap, it's still just a beginning, a start, and who knows where that start might lead.

Threshold isn't a word I use every day. In fact, I'm not sure the last time I even gave thought to a threshold. Call it coincidence or call it validation, I've been reminded of the word several times in the past 24 hours. I feel excited. I feel like I'm on the verge (threshold) of a new way of thinking. Maybe even a new way of being. Could it be that by embracing thresholds instead of shying away from them, I'll stop being afraid of things that are new and different? So in the days ahead, I'm going to be exploring thresholds. A good way to start a new year, don't you think?

Blessing the Threshold
This blessing
has been waiting for you
for a long time.
While you have been
making your way here
this blessing has been
gathering itself
making ready
biding its time
This blessing has been
polishing the door
oiling the hinges
sweeping the steps
lighting candles
in the windows.
This blessing has been
setting the table
as it hums a tune
from an old song
it knows,
something about
a spiraling road
and bread
and grace.
All this time
it has kept an eye
on the horizon,
keeping vigil,
hardly aware of how
it was leaning itself
in your direction.
And now that
you are here
this blessing
can hardly believe
its good fortune
that you have finally arrived,
that it can drop everything
at last
to fling its arms wide
to you, crying
- Jan Richardson
(Used with permission)
What thresholds might you cross this year?
Merry ME


Joy said...

I like the "Divine Vocabularist"! Wonderful reflections on your word! Joyce Rupp has a book titled Open The Door. I love the thought-provoking questions that the door symbol provides and it is deeply connected to thresholds.

Also glad you Reminded me about Jan's Women's Christmas! I have downloaded it and at first glance it is packed with guiding questions to think about for my journey. Thanks!!

May your journey be blessed this year!

MamaJoe said...

The word ....Threshold.... Holds a promise for me. A door opening to a lit entryway that beckons with promise. The Ability to carry the wisdom earned into a new season where glorious lessons are waiting to be learned. Here I am...stepping across my own threshold.