So the ice has melted, and the wind’s licking the garage roof’s snow into airy rivulets and spirals, scribbles in the sky. Large cottony balls soar from evergreen boughs. My husband says we’ll need to get my son to come with his chainsaw to cut up some big spruce branches that have peeled away from the tree.
I’ve been picking and digging at dry cuticles, peeling them them down to raw skin. I’ve made the corner of my thumb bleed now. I put it to my mouth. I know I should just walk a few steps for the clippers. Better yet, I should regularly massage my nails with Sally Hansen’s Problem Cuticle Remover, apply the oil and hand cream, keep the Nail Envy fresh. But I’ll let time slip, and the nails themselves will peel, and I’ll pick at them and the dry skin, and eventually I’ll present myself to one whose words are sometimes hard to understand. She’ll soak and file and oil and maybe top with a little acrylic or gel that’ll strengthen the nails and build them up so I can’t pick. But then I’ll bite the topping off so the nails can breathe, and then start all over again.
“Are you ever going to strip the rest of that wallpaper?” my daughter scolded the other day. That’s the plan. It’s been the plan for… um… years now, I think. I have a vision of fresh-painted walls throughout this old house, and each year I think this might be the year it happens. But instead I just spend a few moments every few months to pick and peel. I just need to present myself with my tools and get with the program.
But there are so many layers to peel, so much stuff to strip, so many fresh starts to make.
A goldfinch flutters on the feeder. There’s something wrong with one of its legs, and its little claws just can’t wrap around the perch, but it persists.
And so will I.
I’ve kept a list of possible words, words that have captured me, words from which I might choose to color my year. But none of them wrapped their arms around me. None of them made my heart soar. None of them embodied what I need to peel away the dry and broken.
Maybe, I thought, I need to embrace last year’s word a little longer, this word that rose in rivulets from so many sources, spun itself around me like so much stranded sugar. This word that’s helped me finally see myself as a creative.
Maybe, I thought, this word and I aren’t ready to separate. So many fresh creations started last year that I need to complete.
And so few years left to complete creations.
But yesterday morning, while barely awake, a verse tiptoed onto my pillow.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. ~ Romans 12:1-2 (NASB)
In all its forms.
To present myself to God daily, first thing.
Because it’s in that presenting that He’ll do the peeling, the cutting, the stripping.
It’s in that presenting where I’ll find my focus.
And after that…
To be present on the page and to the moment.
To see each day and each circumstance as a gift, a present.
To wrap my life, and my words, as a present to those who will receive.
My one word for 2014…
Have you chosen a word for this year? Have you blogged about it? Tell me in the comments.
Note: As I try to present myself in new ways to this writing life, my words here may be rather sporadic for a short season. Though Dan has taken a new focus, and I won’t be writing regularly for BibleDude, I do have some January deadlines, plan to work on two books, and I’ve signed on at the last minute to Jane Friedman’s How to Powerfully Build Your Author Platform workshop through Tweetspeak Poetry. I’m kind of burned out on the concept of platform, but I’m hoping Jane can help me better figure out how to use my time and build relationships. Oh, and I’m also working with Lyla to redesign this website–again. 🙂
And linking with Bonnie