Tag Archives: New Year

dear 2015

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One year ago at this time I was toasting with friends that, if nothing else, are evidence that God is up to unforeseeable and perfect trouble all the time. We were sitting around an evening campfire in the Cederberg, South Africa. We had been speedily doing nothing at all after I had arrived hours earlier after over 24 hours of flight and New Year’s champagne somewhere over the Atlantic.

We were sharing words about what the next year might mean for us, wrapping up both our hopes and our predictions in one tiny word. When it came around to me, I said the word “next” which was immediately met with laughter. Shortly thereafter, when I repeated it, these friends realized I wasn’t passing my turn, but was rather choosing the word “next” as my choice of a defining word for 2015. Next in employment, next in understanding, next in outlook.

I’m never sure if self-fulfilling prophecy is a legitimate reality or simply a filter for reflective thought, but 2015 was no doubt the year of “next.”

I learned more about people, who they say they are, how they really are, and how things work than I ever wanted to know in 2015. I met people and groups and neighborhoods and communities I thought I knew about but learned I was completely ignorant of and disconnected from. I became friends with people I would have never known about but now can’t imagine operating without. I faced my biggest fears and insecurities, and faced the world the next day realizing that people are just as evil and just as good as I had imagined. I realized how hope and reality fight constantly, leaving me in a fragile reality where the battle is not over yet but I’m supposed to operate as if I know the ending.

I enter 2016 with texts of jealousy-inducing pictures from the same friends in the same Cederberg. I’m not sure what my word for 2016 is yet, but I’m grateful for all of the next that 2015 brought. I’m no longer afraid of “the worst” that others are capable of bringing, because they’ve brought it and I’m still standing. I’m no longer ignorant of so much of my own city I desperately need to be in relationship with, and I can’t go back operating as a wealthy white kid who doesn’t know what it’s costing everybody else. I’m no longer wondering if fighting when I might not win   is worth it.

I’ve learned the good fight is always worth it. And I’ve learned that if I’m paying attention, there are always people who’ve been fighting and losing the good fight a long time who have a lot to teach me about being honest and brave. About taking up what Sara Groves calls the things that are “too heavy to carry and impossible to leave.”

So to 2016, I’m not sure what you’re bringing, but I’m sure that I’ll be ready.

djordan
Pine Tree Dr.

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cheers to the 2nd of January

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the 1st is easy enough
to be big
to be bold
to be daring
to be hopeful enough about the future
to set big goals
to make big promises;

we reflect on a year that has passed and
choose what we hope will be better
or more
or truer
or braver in the year to come.

But most days of our lives
happen on the 2nd
the day after we make
big decisions
bold promises
daring declarations
hopeful comments about the future
big goals for the days and weeks ahead
big promises for the future that waits ahead.

And so we ask that
the prayers and hopes and energies of our 1sts
become the fuel of our 2nds.
And that we hold out hope,
and join with others who do the same for us.

Happy January 2nd.

djordan
Pine Tree

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intolerance of uncertainty | thoughts on a new year

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It’s no doubt that the things which are the most important for us to know are the things which, once heard, feel the most obvious. The things which, once said, feel the most simple. And yet, it is these things which are often, once heard and said, the things which change us the most. The things which make the biggest impact in our worlds because even though they are obvious and even though they are simple, they are still the things which are most important and have the most impact.

A New Year’s resolution has been to read an article a workday. Workday means ultimately five articles a week, and article means a research or peer-reviewed journal article, so what to do when throwing a party or how to build biceps fastest doesn’t count as articles.

I was reading, a few days ago (because I’ve also learned that New Year’s resolutions I wait to start until New Year’s are 100% less likely to happen than New Year’s resolutions I start a few days before) an article* about depression, anxiety and rumination. I was reading for a client that I’ve been making little progress with, and also reading for myself as is almost always the case whether any of us in the field choose to admit it or not.

The article speaks to depression, anxiety and rumination, or ongoing perseverative thoughts about situations or details, as moderated by the intolerance of uncertainty. And while the phrase “intolerance of uncertainty” feels as common and as known and as obvious as any other phrase that’s said over coffee or in elevators or across lunch tables, I felt myself freeze in the phase of the written words, as if the obvious and known was suddenly becoming an answer to a mystery.

The more we are intolerant of what we can’t control and what we don’t know, the greater our anxiety, depression and stalling.

With multitudes of caveats and uncontrollable variables, the notion has stuck with me since. The ability that I, or others, have to tolerate uncertainty influences the way we see the future and handle its impending realities in the present. Since all of the future is uncertain, no matter the degree at which we enjoy misleading ourselves, my ability to tolerate that uncertainty is a predictor of my emotions, attitudes, and decisions.

Since reading this article, no doubt an encouragement to keep up my New Year’s resolution, I’ve been challenged to face each day with a reminder to myself that what is to come is unknown, and my trust in the fact that all things are done well and that all things work together is and will be a major factor in my ability to move forward well into the grief and joy that lies ahead in 2013.

Here’s to an uncertain new year.

djordan
Pine Tree

* Liao, K. Y. & Wei, M. (2011). Intolerance of uncertainty, depression, and anxiety: The moderating and mediating roles of rumination. Journal of clinical psychology, 67(12), 1220-1239.

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