It isn't really the beginning of the new year anymore, but I have to share my word.
Every year, I choose a word to meditate on. Whenever I do my quiet time, or at moments throughout the day, I focus on that word and ponder what the outcome of my actions, thoughts and words should be.
Last year, was gratefulness.
The year before, was kindness.
This year was tricky, but after prayer and much deliberation, the word was chosen: Cultivate.
We have finally moved into our new home. It took 10 homes to find this one. It took a year and a half to move. And it took 7 weeks of homelessness to be here. And through it all, I focused on silent-listening to the Lord. Of course, during all that time, I wondered if we were supposed to move, if perhaps we were meant to be in the city, or if we were supposed to rent for awhile. I wondered if we were supposed to learn patience, or discipline, or...fill in the blank. But while we were homeless and living in three different homes (lovely, lovely friends of whom I am deeply indebted), I could not figure out what GOD was saying. And it took our third temporary home for it to hit me.
Perhaps...perhaps this had nothing to do with us. Perhaps, this ridiculousness wasn't to grow me, or grow us, but... maybe it was for the families we lived with temporarily. Maybe GOD was working on their lives more actively than ours. Maybe this was all about them. So as a family, we made sure to give all we could, whether through cooking, cleaning, loving...so they could be blessed.
Once we moved into our beautiful home (that was totally worth the awfulness), we felt very...lonely. Living with people for almost two months can feel like living with a large family. And it was nice. For the first time, I wasn't looking for solitude or peace and quiet. But now in our large, brick farm house, with 148 acres of gorgeous trees and a babbling brook...we miss people. We miss our large families that we could love on.
So the word, cultivate was chosen. This year I choose to cultivate relationships with others. I am going to actively seek out people to come visit my home, so I can cook and visit with them. So that I can take them into the bush for a good hike, shoot targets with our guns, wade in our stream, stargaze up on 'Stargazer's Hill'. We are even remodeling a room so that we can have a solo retreat for anyone who needs it.
Cultivating requires carefully choosing what will grow, and what shouldn't. I am choosing to cultivate healthy relationships, and choosing to neglect the negative/toxic/apathetic ones. Because there are many people out there looking for friendship, why spend energy on ones that are not?
We have a lot of land. And it's resting, fertile land. I am going to cultivate the land. Which means figuring out how to get rid of all the prickly ash in an environmentally responsible manner. Which means hacking up the buckthorn from my gorgeous apple trees. Which means tilling the ground and growing healthy food that we can share with others.
I am choosing to cultivate my writing. Which means I will make writing somewhat of a priority, even if it has nothing to do with my current two novels (who can decide?). I choose to read more books on writing, to read books filled with gorgeous poetry, and choose to write, regardless of whether or not it becomes a published novel.
I choose to cultivate my relationship with GOD. I choose to neglect/ignore the guilt, the negativity, the awful thoughts I think of, and instead, will cultivate the love, the kindness, the closeness between us.
Cultivating can be very powerful. And I choose to be powerful this year.
Jenn Kelly is an author trying to find time to write while starting an organic vegetable farm. With chickens. And maybe a pig. And maybe goats to eat the prickly ash. Except they're ignorant.
You can find her at www.jennkelly.com