#WordoftheYear 2022

Well, we made it to another year… kicking and screaming, maybe, but here we are! It’s been a rollercoaster of ups and downs again in 2021, with the global pandemic hanging over us yet again. Still, time travels on. A constant in this world of upheaval. Time doesn’t seem to stop for anyone… or anything. And so we arrive at 2022.

As many of you will recall, for 2021, I chose a #wordoftheyear. It was my first attempt at such a thing, and I think it went off rather well. (You can read some of those thoughts here) It’s different from a resolution or goal… it can be interpreted differently throughout the year’s circumstances, and may appeal to you in a variety of situations. For 2021, my word was “brave”. I felt it. I failed at it. I focused on it.

This year, * drumroll please * my word is magic. When my eldest son was younger, he loved magic tricks… he learned a few and put on performances where he would “wow” us with his slight of hand. We saw magicians in Vegas and on tv specials and ooohed and ahhhed at the magic and wondered “How’d they do it?” But when I picked this word for 2022… this is not the definition of magic I had in mind. This magic is trickery and illusion. There’s enough of that out there in the world. I certainly don’t need to focus on that kind of magic.

Photo by Almos Bechtold on Unsplash

No, when I chose the word, maybe I was thinking about miracles. Maybe I was thinking about the unexpected. Maybe I was thinking about the astonishing. Perhaps I wanted to focus on the little things in life that are magic… things that used to make me oooh and ahh, but have been pushed aside by my practical side. Things that brought a little joy into people’s lives for no reason other than it was fun… like sparkles and sprinkles. Covid has robbed us of some of that. We have become consumed with sanitizer and sterility. I need some fairy dust in my year. I need some ribbons and confetti and spur-of-the-moment decisions — because I really don’t like those things. I fret at the cost and the environmental impact and the lack of frugality to those things. The people around me do like those things, though, and maybe we both need a little magic to brighten our days up this year.

I’m not so good at making magic. I miss the little ones at school who forced you to see the magic. The wide-eyed attention they gave when they just knew that something cool was about to happen. I want to be the wide-eyed one this year. I want to create those experiences for those around me… through my actions, through my faith in a great big God who still does miracles, and through my attention to the small details that allow me to see the everyday miracles. I want to delight in the smells and sounds and sights of a great big world around me and be astonished at it. I want to say, hey God, “How’d ya do that?” Magic.

I also think about magic in the sense of “ta-da” moments. When the hankies disappear into the hat. When the puff of smoke turns the bird into the beautiful lady. I’m learning how to make things new again — by fixing, painting, fluffing and upcycling. I am learning to love the ta-da moments of my projects when I can say Ha! Look at how that just turned out! Magic. Things transformed from one thing, into another… that’s a magic God loves to see, too. And I hope it will be part of my journey this year, too. I long to share it with you, my friends on this little piece of the internet where we dream big and fail hard. Where we think deeper and muse mightily.

So, my friends, “cheers” to another new year! May our year be filled magic, wonder and a little bit of mystery… and a good dose of musing about it all!

How to Predict the Future

A few years back, our oldest son was learning magic. We bought kits and trick books and studied the “art of illusion”. He was pretty good at it too. As he was mastering his tricks, we would watch the professionals on YouTube and predicted this or that, or marvel at how good their distraction was as they turned their tricks and slight of hand into entertaining shows. Sometimes we knew how the trick was done, other times we were awestruck along with the audience. The fun was in the allure of the unknown.

Recently, I have been praying along with others, for things unknown. Two friends asked me to pray for upcoming medical appointments. Tests and procedures where the outcomes could be life changing. I pray. But these are the kinds of unknowns that are not so entertaining. These are the kinds of unknowns where we wish we knew the tricks. Where we wish we knew what the future will hold and how the situation will all play out. Will it be good news? News we can handle, and process, and eventually plan for? Or will it be the kind of news that leaves us questioning: “What do we do now?”

Just because we are Jesus followers, doesn’t mean our lives will be easy. We face the same bumps in the road as everyone else does on this journey. We live in a fallen world with unpredictable futures. But. (And I like big butts, I cannot lie…pause for musical interlude to break the tension…) But. We serve a powerful God who does know the future!! How comforting is that?!

My personal readings have led me to the book of Daniel recently. The story begins with one of those life changing situations. King Nebuchadnezzar had trouble sleeping and was bothered by his dreams. None of his wise men could interpret them, and therefore ease his anxiety… so he issues a decree to kill them all off. (Nice, eh?) However, Daniel, through God’s mercy, is able to interpret the dream, and thus save his companions from their untimely deaths:

19 During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven 20 and said:
“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
    wisdom and power are his.
21 He changes times and seasons;
    he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to the discerning.
22 He reveals deep and hidden things;
    he knows what lies in darkness,
    and light dwells with him.
23 I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:
    You have given me wisdom and power,
you have made known to me what we asked of you,
    you have made known to us the dream of the king.”

Daniel 2: 19-23 (NIV)

Isn’t that so encouraging?! God knows the future! We simpletons cannot predict how things are going to play out. And so we pray, along with our friends, to help guide us in the paths unknown. To face those unpredictable turns and trials and twists in the journey. My beloveds, if you are facing one of those life changing moments right now, may you be restored in the knowledge that there is One who knows. There is One who loves you so much, that He wants the best for you. He will make it work out according to His plan for you… and we will (eventually) delight in how the mystery is revealed!