I like the word "intention" better than "resolution." It implies something to work toward, move toward, rather than something at which you either succeed or fail.
Here's what I'm intending for the new year:
Experiment more. Create more; consume less. Trust more; worry less. Read more; write more; watch less. Write more of what lasts longer. Waste less time. Spend more time in "creative idleness". Spend less; save more. Pray more. Use more paper, lots of paper. Use a pen more, a keyboard less. Find an agent; find a publisher; deliver a manuscript worth publishing, worth reading. Love more. Talk less but say more. Figure out how patience and urgency co-exist. Hope always. Cook more; eat less. Start sewing again. Play the piano more. Pursue truth, beauty, and goodness at every opportunity; realize every moment is an opportunity. Stand up straighter. Speak more often in the strength of my own voice. Find the way to do what needs to be done; sit quietly and wait for the Lord. Accept paradox. Pray more, pray without ceasing. See the signs, ask for signs; be more willing to step into the unknown. Use less; have less; give more away. Shorten my to-do lists. More intentionally be a conduit for the flow of God's grace to the world. Be silent more often. Pray more fervently for safety coast to coast but live less fearfully. Remind myself as often as needed where true hope lies. Start fewer projects but finish more of those I start. Be encouraged. Be excited. Be more attuned to the burdens of the people I pass on the street as well as those with whom I share a table or a home. Love God with ever more of my heart, soul, strength, and mind. Thank more. Eat less sugar but more dark chocolate.
“Blessed is the road that keeps us homeless. Blessed is the mountain that blocks our way.”
This is the start to “Prayer at Winter Solstice,” a poem by Dana Gioia and included in his new book, Pity the Beautiful. On Thanksgiving, he recited it on American Public Media’s program, “Giving Thanks - A Celebration of Fall, Food and Gratitude.” My husband and I were in the car at the time, chatting but also listening along to the program of interviews and music, but then hushed up quick when Gioia started talking, particularly when he began this poem. Originally titled “Thanksgiving,” the poem is about being humble in and grateful for life, no matter what it brings. And sometimes, often even, what life brings is hard.
“Blessed is the pain that humbles us. Blessed is the distance that bars our joy.”
You can listen to the entire interview with him and his recitation of the poem in its entirety by clicking this link to the Thanksgiving program. You’ll find a 2-hour and 1-hour program option. If you choose the 1-hour option, Gioia’s interview starts at 24:43 and the poem starts at 25:43. You’ll also hear him in the 2-hour program, but there you’re on your own to find the minute markers.
“Blessed is this shortest day that makes us long for light. Blessed is the love that in losing we discover.”
For a review of Pity the Beautiful, see also "Redemption Songs" by Angela Alaimo O’Donnell in America magazine.
The Powderhorn Art Fair is an annual summer event in Minneapolis. This year my husband and I bought this original piece from Jennifer Gilles. I haven't decided where to hang it yet, but I just love it.
Her pieces are watercolors in various grid-like patterns and made us think of stained glass windows. We talked to her for awhile and learned that she started doing this work while her baby napped. Great story!