I stole my word from my pastor. Totally ripped it right out of his Advent series and plunked it down into my blog like it belonged to me. I didn't mean to do it, I was going to pick a nice simple word like 'grace'. But as I sat down to write about it nothing was coming together. My ramblings were bland, and although it is a perfectly lovely word 'grace' just wasn't doing it for me. So I walked away to do some journaling about what was really going on in my mind and just like that my word fell out onto paper and said "Hi! Here I am, hold onto your hat because it's going to be a wild year!"
To back up a bit, One Word 365 is a challenge that has been going on for several years. You pick a word (or a word picks you) that you want to focus on for the year. It's a commitment to being intentional in living out that word. Last year the word that seemed to be begging for my attention was 'love'. I'm not certain that I did the greatest job in living it out (and ok, before the year was even a quarter over I'd forgotten that I picked it) but it is still interesting to look back over my year and see the strands of love weaving their way through it.
So this year as I started seeing the blogs pop up with their 'one word' for 2014 I started thinking about what my word would be. And finally I said "OK, I'll pick grace, because I need to learn to extend grace to some people." Grace is a perfectly great word for an introvert to pick, because it is something I can do all in my head, if I want to. I don't really have to actually speak with anyone to extend grace to them, I can just sail by with my head held high thinking "Yeah, you're a jerk but I extend my oh-so-benevolent grace to you." Because sometimes I can be a bit of a jerk like that. That's also probably not what grace really means, because I am pretty sure that real grace descends from on high and enters into the muck of the needy, getting itself more than a little dirty in the process.
Which brings me to my word, the word that I stole. Because yesterday our pastor finished up his Advent series on Being Present with a sermon on being present in friendships. And then in the afternoon I read this post about love showing up. This morning the two came together in one great big conviction and my word for 2014 became 'Presence.' Being present in the lives of those around me. Even when it hurts. Even when they don't reciprocate. Even when I think I have nothing to offer.
I want my easy grace word back. The one that lets me be the wronged party taking the high road. Not a word like 'Presence' that asks so much more from me. Presence means that sometimes I'M going to be the one to fail someone royally by not being present for them. Presence quite frankly makes me want to stomp my feet like a nine-year-old and proclaim "How come I have to do ALL the work around here?" Presence shines its light on my most vulnerable areas and asks me to give them up. And I'm sorry because there's really no other way to say this...it scares the shit out of me.
So here I am, standing on the brink of 2014, ready (or not) to jump into this wild ride. Ready to be present for those around me. Ready to be love showing up whenever, wherever, however I'm needed.