Focus Word of 2018

For the last few years I have chosen a focus word at the beginning of a new year. As we welcome 2019, I encourage each of you to also consider choosing a word of focus and intention. I have been reflecting on 2018, and I have realized how meaningful my focus word, PEACE, has been in the journey of this past year. The truth is I did not choose the word for a profound reason; I was merely seeking quiet and calm amongst a busy schedule and two tween sons that can be shockingly loud at times. It wasn’t too far into the year that I realized the reason I thought I chose the word PEACE, was very different from the beauty and fullness that would be revealed in the coming months.
Early last year I found myself at a community forum where a group of pacifists had the courage and grace to speak before a room of people that were primarily not sharing their view. After witnessing and being moved by this I wrestled with the dichotomy of watching people fighting for peace. I began to delve into the fuller, spiritual and historical meaning and impact of PEACE. I am not fully sure how or why, but that evening and that witnessing changed me. It was a turning point for me and in some ways a preparation and change of awareness that prepared me for what came next.
Soon after that forum, I found myself literally hanging from my rafters after falling through the attic floor to the garage floor. The days and months ahead left me faced with many questions. Would I be able to walk unassisted again? Would I be able to use my hand and arm again? Each of these questions had rippling questions and variables that accompanied them. As I faced these realities and potential realties, I worked toward finding peace. The peace I sought was no longer for quiet and tranquility. What I found was the peace that is fuller and encompassed best in the Hebrew word, “Shalom,” or “peace.” In Hebrew it is fullness, completeness, or a wholeness, that for me evoked a response to give back.
One evening this past autumn I lost focus for a bit. I had become rather discouraged and seemingly “came to terms with” the likelihood that after so many months of physical therapy, it was unlikely that full use of my arm would return. I decided to stop treatments and forgo any surgery. That night as I was getting ready for bed, I saw what my son had written on my mirror:
Mom, you are loved, and I believe you will experience full healing in your arm, don’t give up.
Love, Ryan.
In receiving that Shalom I decided to not give up and had surgery that resulted in unlikely results.
As 2018 was nearing a close, I was flooded by emotion in a moment that seemed to beautifully encompass the past twelve months. I was in a candlelight church service and the last verse of Silent Night was about to be sung. There was a single tear that ran down my cheek, as I was able to join in the custom of raising my arm high as I raised the candle during the last verse of the song. After a year not knowing if I would have use of my arm again, PEACE! I offer Shalom to you for 2019 and hope that you join me in choosing a word of focus and intention for this New Year.
So, what’s your word?