Last December, I began considering whether I needed or wanted “one word” for 2020. I was looking back on a challenging, eventful year and the one word I thought would guide me through 2019 had been lost in the shuffle. I can’t even tell you right now what it was.
Then in January of this year, two words together began showing up everywhere — in things I was reading, in a song and just in conversation. “Begin again” was ringing in my ears and settling in my heart. Fresh starts for a couple of my sons and a new season for me called for a reset as I stepped into 2020. These two words, strung together on a bracelet, have given me direction, hope, inspiration. They were my “assignment” for 2020 and so far, they have served me well.
The words “begin again” are found in The Rule of St. Benedict, directions for a monastic life penned in the 6th century and still embraced today. St. Benedict’s words “always we begin again” have inspired many for centuries. A deep dive into The Rule of St. Benedict brings answers for many of today’s challenges. The monk’s teachings align well with familiar words from Psalm 90:12, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
Emily P. Freeman in this week’s podcast of The Next Right Thing noted that May is sometimes called the new December, saying it’s even been dubbed #maycember by some folks. Under normal circumstances, a lot happens in May and a whole new season (summer for us in the northern hemisphere) is on the horizon. Emily says it’s a good time to release the dreams and resolutions we may have held at the beginning of the year and “reimagine” them. At a time when the Corona Virus Pandemic has turned everything on its ear, reimagining 2020 may be our only option.
What needs reimagined in your world as Memorial Day ushers you into summer? If you have kids at home or a job outside the home, your list is probably much longer than mine. Graduations, weddings, family trips, career goals. They all look different than you expected at the start of the year. You’re probably coming up with ways to make things happen, but those plans aren’t set in stone, either.
As you reimagine 2020, finding new rhythms for life and allowing your perspective to shift, know that it’s okay to mourn the loss of dreams and plans — or at least lament the fact they’ll look different. But remember also to wisely number these days and see their worth. They are not days lost to us, but an opportunity to remind ourselves that each day, each season, especially in the threshold months of December and May, “always we begin again.”
If you’re curious about The Rule of St. Benedict, I highly recommend this little book by John McQuiston II, Always We Begin Again: The Benedictine Way of Living. From the back copy: “Although originally written by a saint for his monks, the Rule still speaks to all of us who hunger for a meaningful and creatively balanced framework for life.”
Join me and my friend Brenda for chats On the Front Porch
Did I mention that I’ve been a guest on a podcast? And that I’ll be a regular on that podcast through the summer? My good and gracious friend Brenda Yoder hosts an excellent podcast called Life Beyond the Picket Fence. Last month, we talked for two episodes about the value of motherhood. You can listen to those conversations by clicking through here.
Beginning next week, Brenda and I will continue our friendly chats with On the Front Porch. This summer series will find us talking about friendship, family, faith and how we can make a difference right in our own communities. All the things we talk about when we’re meeting up on our front porches. Watch social media for a link to the first podcast, or sign up for my newsletter and receive a link by email.