The Common Good

Waiting for Your 2013

A new year evokes so many emotions in us. For some a wonder of potential opportunities. Others, the hope of change. Still others, the fear of uncertainty. In each case there lies a moment of suspense. A pause. And yet our resolutions are spoken, written and relayed far before the time has been taken to contemplate what we feel and how we feel.

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Blonde sitting on the roof of the house. Aleshyn_Andrei / Shutterstock

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This year my challenge is to start with the place of inaction and pause to consider what we in fact feel. To each of us we have to slow down after the Christmas season high of purchasing, giving, praying, lighting candles, waiting in Advent, and hoping for the Christ Child to know what kind of year we will encounter.

Resolve to be irresolute until the time of knowing appears. 

Resolve to sit silent and listen.

Resolve to move slower until weary legs are refreshed.

Resolve to know loved ones as they are right now.

Resolve to build, to grow, to transform those parts that 2012 has damaged or left broken.

My public resolution is "Undo 2012." Last year was an intensely dark night of spiritual decay and longing for my life's end. I privately prayed for the Mayan calendar's prediction to be accurate. Selfishly I wanted the world to end for the sake of my pain. I was terribly wrong and so were the doomsayers.

It took twelve long hard months of daily wrestling to come to terms with my mental health. And right when I felt all hope was lost I realized something profoundly dark and yet suggesting a candle flicker of light in my personal cave of despair. I sat in therapy for the last two weeks of the year and realized my brokenness and trauma from over 10 years ago was not yet resolved. For over a decade, I made New Year's resolutions year by year without taking the slightest moment to pause on what lie buried in my soul. I rushed through the holidays, but each season became more dark and difficult. I didn't know why. 

I love to write, and I found the words lacking in 2012. “My mythical Muse departed,” I told my close writing friends. I lost the will and the faculties to stroke the keys and to produce fruitful content. Once I thought this was the end, Advent came and I began waiting for the Christ Child. I explored this on Sojourners, and I found something terrific happening in seed form deep within my spirit. I saw more light each week the candles were lit.

In a session with my therapist, I let go of over ten years of tears from so many failed resolutions that were planned in haste. Unbeknownst to me a personal tragedy I suffered lie deep in my psyche and paralyzed my mind with depression and negativity. I wept and convulsed. I had no clue that this wellspring sat buried, waiting to burst forth from my tear ducts. And as the tears subsided, I felt a weight lifting. Not entirely gone, but an unfamiliar airiness settled upon my heart. 

So learn from this weary sojourner whose legs have little strength to carry on another day. Sit. Wait. Contemplate. Reflect. Take in all that 2012 was so you can know how to live in 2013. I pray you do not repeat my erroneous ways and rush through another season without taking spiritual inventory.

I am still in therapy and will be for quite some time. This trauma is a newly opened wound and I do not know what else lies buried deep within. Wound upon wound. Layer upon layer. 

But 2013 will be a year of healing and of leveling with the reality that I am broken. I have been broken and will be broken. And that's okay. My 2013 resolution is to continue the unraveling of 2012, 2011, 2010 ... so that I can know what kind of year 2013 will become.

Michael D. Bobo has written as Christian Literature Examiner for and has contributed to Burnside Writers CollectiveEmergent Village Voice and He is delighted to serve as curator of Daily Burnsider and Poetry Editor for Burnside Writers. 

Photo: Aleshyn_Andrei / Shutterstock

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