Every year, I ask God for a word or a theme, some sort of lens through which to view the year ahead. In 2017, I had 2 words: Peace and Justice. It was definitely a year of thinking on those things, pursuing a better education on social justice issues, listening to the people around me when they spoke about their lives and struggles. I finished 2017 with the sense that I can be at peace with myself only when I am living a life that pursues justice for others.
What about 2018?
I don’t know.
I have a couple of words, and when I write them in Spanish, they feel like my words for the year. However, they don’t have quite the same oh-so-certain feeling I usually have when my yearly theme lands in my lap. Why?
Perhaps it has to do with where I am in my faith journey. I wrote, last year, about coming to the end of deconstruction and being ready to rebuild. However, rebuilding seems like a distant dream. The foundation is steady. It holds. But I don’t know what it is.
I’m living in a surreal paradox.
I find solace in my faith and also disparage it. For a video I was a part of, my husband asked me to explain the connection between a struggle I experienced and Jesus/salvation/faith. I stumbled through something about Mary and parenting and how God loves us, but my brain was in a panic.
I believe in Jesus, but I don’t know exactly what I believe ABOUT Jesus. I find the Bible both comforting and polarizing. I see wisdom in the pages, but I also can’t elevate it to the level of authority to which those around me have raised it. I believe in God, but I don’t think I believe in the same God those around me believe in… or perhaps I believe in the same God, but approach God’s existence in a different way. We sing worship songs on Sundays and I both love them and find them empty. I feel moved and also wonder how much brain chemistry and music are playing into my experience of the Holy Spirit.
I don’t feel like I am still deconstructing, but perhaps I am being deconstructed. I have spent years tearing apart my religious beliefs and questioning them, rearranging them, shedding them. Now, it seems what is left of my faith is rearranging me.
It is uncomfortable.
It is not permanent, but I don’t know where it leads.
So, with that said, my words for 2018 are:
Viva can mean, “Live,” a verb, or it can mean, “Life,” a noun. I don’t know if this word is a command, that I am being told to “LIVE!” or if it is an indication that what feels like the death of faith will actually bring new life, resurrection. I can hope. The second word means “Write.” This one I know to take as a command. I have a lot of writing to do this year, in a zillion forms. All of it will stretch me, and I will learn. Writing always teaches me something new.
So, here’s to 2018, a year for living and writing and maybe figuring out who I am again.