Saturday, December 31, 2016

steadfast: a look back at 2016

There are certain things in life that forgive good intentions, when tomorrow becomes someday and running shoes aren't tied and words remain tucked away, unwritten. The inertia of inaction becomes more arduous than the task itself until I simply start, again. The pace is slower than before, in writing and running, and yet the words come and the miles pass, always ready to forgive, to welcome me back.

In 2016, I kept my head down, seeking respite from the "what's next?"-ness of my life. I focused on morning coffee and to-do lists, a year of treading water. I'd like to think that I've simply been "letting my land lie fallow," an idea inspired by an episode of Rob Bell's podcast. My word for 2016 was steady / steadfast, inspired by 1 Corinthians 15:58: "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the LORD, knowing that in the LORD your labor is not in vain." There is a sacredness in the stillness, but looking back, I may have held back more out of fear than contentedness. I'm ready to be free - to cultivate this moment instead of pining for what might be.

Forever - is composed of Nows -
'Tis not a different time -
Except for Infiniteness -
And Latitude of Home.
Emily Dickinson

Even in this year of lying fallow, there has been life, shared. Love, celebrated.

It all started with a run on January 1, on a new trail in a city that didn't quite feel like home yet.

In March, I traveled to Lewisburg to celebrate my sister's acceptance into the Catholic faith.

I hosted my sister's bridal shower in April, a cozy gathering with friends and family, all nestled together around one large table.

In May, I ran the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. I was unprepared for the hills, having trained in Ohio, but gritted my teeth and finished, anyways. Spotting my mama at the finish line might be my favorite part of race day. I also traveled to Toronto and New Orleans for conferences in May, and caught up with an old friend over beignets and coffee at Cafe Du Monde.

At the end of June, my mama and I spent a few days lakeside. We rented a golf cart and drove around Kelly's Island, and I felt like a kid again, unencumbered and carefree as the wind whipped our hair and we laughed and laughed.

My sister's bachelorette was in July, a weekend in Cleveland, complete with outdoor yoga, paddle boarding, painting, and a fancy dinner.

In September, my sister and I ran The Great Race together. Sole sisters reunited!

On October 8, my sister got married. Every detail was exquisite. There was a completeness to the day, even without our dad there, knowing his spirit was with us. We cried and smiled and danced, fully aware that those moments would become some of our most precious memories.

I voted in November, full of hope and a deep sense of awe and wonder - that I would be a part of history, electing our first female president. The story unfolded in a way I never imagined possible and yet now, I believe the story is still unfolding. How we respond is simply the next chapter. What my role will be is yet to be written.

Our Christmas Eve was cozy, complete with a trip downtown for cheese and biscotti and coffee. The Steelers' victory on Christmas Day? Our own Christmas miracle.

Peppered between these milestones were moments: when my family visited me in Columbus and we spent our mornings at the Fox in the Snow cafe. Steelers games with my uncle. I read books, such good books, and finally hung art in my apartment.

Here's to being free in 2017, to explore and grow and find my voice.

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