There are years that ask questions, and years that answer.Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston
For me, Old Year’s Night is the last day of a year that answered. In every case, the answer is the same. If it didn’t kill you, no matter what it was, you need no longer fear it.
Old Year’s Night makes way for the New Year by way of a blaze into which I toss my laments, written on scraps of paper. Cauterized, that which tried to destroy me can no longer harm me. In a crucible of my own making, I see them vanquished. In 2018, so much that I held dear was under mortal threat. I need to burn it away.
Nearly 7 years ago, I began a journey to comprehend why the first One Word that chose me was SURRENDER.
Pete Miller, writing in How To Surrender To God explained,
“to surrender means the end of the fight, and there is no more argument.
I tried to surrender and meant to succeed at it. I am still a work in progress; I’m stubborn that way.
In the year following, BROKEN called out to me.
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart You, God, will not despise.
Psalms 51:17 (NIV)
Yielded and broken, it was time for fire. I spent the next year in the CRUCIBLE underestimating its effects.
Malachi 3 speaks of Levites being purified by fire, “that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” Kathryn Schifferdecker, writing in her commentary, cautions us that purification is not to be taken lightly.
…we are helpless to clean ourselves. Enter the refiner of gold and the washer of clothes, to do the cleaning for us.
It is not an easy process, of course. There is pain involved in refining and cleansing. There is pain involved in dying and rising. But it is a process that is designed for our good, for our well-being, to prepare us for the coming of the Lord.
After purifying fire came cooling, soothing water, and sweet PETRICHOR. My 2015 word was the scent unleashed by Living Waters kiss upon Dry Bones and barren land. Like mortar on pestle, Petrichor is the fragrance of pounding rain upon parched earth and the beauty liberated thereby.
Petrichor marries the dry AND the restorative, the profane and the Profoundly Sacred. Now, finally, things were beginning to make sense. I love that word.
Unburdened at soothed, at this point, TRUST began making sense. Trust was always the underlying lesson, and once I’d begun to appreciate trusting God, I became a little brave. I got downright salty.
SALT was a favorite. I was so freed by the embrace of it that I struggled to let it go. Clearly, my trust issues linger. In my salt year, I professed that every action could be sacred when done with a heart of service and worship unto God. I do not now, nor have I ever said these words lightly; it is something I fervently believe.
About salt, the Levites, among others in the Bible, taught us that as the opposite to leaven, salt is a fixative, a preservative from putrefaction and corruption, and exemplifies the purity and persevering fidelity necessary in the worship of God.
Salt is the mundane elevated to sacrament; I told you everything could be sacred. Everything for the Levites was seasoned with it, to signify that purity and perfection should be extended through every part of Divine service. Every single part of it.
Having finally begun understanding whom I was in God, I began changing. Eviscerated, ground to fine dust, demolished beyond recognition, with nothing more than the salt from my own tears, I shed like an old skin the shards of what had been. There was no more of me. And in the absence, after so many years, there was finally room for God. It was the time of my EVOLUTION.
Evolution, however, was not the end of the story. The rest of the story will be told tomorrow, in the revelation of my 2019 One Word.