So here I am on New Years Day, been thinking about my Word for the coming year. I’ve been choosing one of these focus words for the past few years. I like to put it on the blog, so that later I can look back and remind myself what my Word is. Along about March I forget. Perhaps I can remember to print it and put it several places around the house.
More than the value of the word, I think, is the process of choosing the word. It helps me to see where I am and what I truly want in my life.
The first thing to getting what I want is to know what I want. For me that is always something of a conundrum. My busy brain often confuses my wants with shoulds. Do you do that? I think this is the tendency of most women (one of the reasons writing can fall by the wayside), and for some of us in particular, who have this idea that we’re holding up the world. I often find myself going along with the shoulds before I know it. And being irritable and unreasonable because of it. When I am following the true want, I’m happy and peaceful, no matter how difficult or distasteful the task. How hard a struggle I’m having with myself is the real clue.
The past few years have been difficult as a whole for me: becoming widowed, having to take on more and more care-giving to my elderly mother, being responsible for a house and life that was built for two and now must be managed by one alone. In fact, being the responsible one on my own with all decisions!
I realized that I was tired of the struggle within, and what I really wanted was peace. I started to choose the word Peace. That is a great thing to focus on. Every bit of creativity is born from a point of peace. I need peace, the world needs peace. Sounds so lofty, too.
But I had no peace about it.
In an honest moment, I thought of what peace meant to me, and the word Comfort came. I want, and I need, and I adore comfort. Yes, that is true of me. Nothing makes me happier than to have my comforts: hot tea, a good book, a notepad, a blue ink pen, in my favorite comfortable chair, with the dog nearby, and quiet solitude. Peace.
I was embarrassed to think of using Comfort. Wasn’t that terribly self-centered and weak? With a few clicks of the mouse, I discovered a lot of quotes about comfort, and in one way or another comfort was denigrated as a poor choice in life, a selfish choice, a weak choice.
But what about the song? You know…”O, tidings of comfort and joy…comfort and joy!” It is from one of my favorite Christmas carols:
God rest ye merry gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember Christ our Savior
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan’s power
When we were gone astray
O Tidings of comfort and joy…
Guess what–Comfort comes from a French word that means to strengthen. Well. Heaven knows I need strengthening for all the goals that I’m thinking of for this year, and for all the trials of the previous years that have taken the starch out of me. The word Comfort is prettier than strengthening, and it encompasses so much more. I went to my grandfather’s great old Webster’s and found these descriptions for Comfort: to assist or help, to give aid, to impart hope, encourage, console, and to relieve mental distress. All of which brings peace, I might add.
Sticking out my chin in the face of all the quotes and perceptions that denigrate Comfort, I am choosing it for my word for 2016. I shall focus on comforting myself, strengthening myself. And the comfort I grow I can then give away.
Tidings of comfort and joy to me, and to you!
What is your Word for 2016?