I’m getting the sanctuary ready for worship this Sunday, which is Epiphany. Last year, I passed out stars that had words written on them and invited people to use that word in their prayer life in 2012. We’ll be doing it again Sunday (so if you would like a star word but aren’t a Southminster worshipper, let me know and I will pick one for you).
You can read my first post about my 2012 word here. My word was “practice”, which was not a word I wanted. But it was the word I got. It was maybe, even, the word I needed.
And I am thankful for that word. It helped me focus on the important things while trying to give me permission to let go of unimportant things. For example, I started taking cello lessons last spring and have continued with that. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am not Yo Yo Ma (though my kids sometimes call me “YO, Ma ma”). I’m letting go of the need to be perfect and am finding gratitude in the practice.
But in addition to my cello playing, the word has filtered in to my life in other ways. If I head in to an activity requiring myself to be perfect before I begin, I will always find ways to not go. But if I decide, “this is just practice”, I give myself permission to suck. It is a good thing.
This past week I have gone cross country skiing a few times. And it has been great and I hope to go again soon. But I am a horrible skier. I never downhill skied as a kid, and so I am worthless on hills. I can’t go up them or down them without endangering myself and others.
But that is okay.
I still had fun. And if I keep practicing, maybe I’ll get less horrible.
And what if I would have turned down the chance to go because I wasn’t very good? I would have missed out on a fun time with friends in a beautiful place.
Same with running. I wrote about running this year too. You can read here. But running has been all practice for me. And discipline. And work. There have been rewards for sure. But it has embodied practice for me with the definition of “discpline, routine”.
I don’t expect to run a marathon, but I do hope to keep improving my health and physical condition and strength. Because I have held the word “practice” in my head this year, I have even gone on runs with people I know to be much better runners than I. This used to be a real deal breaker for me. I know my husband would run with me. But I hate, hate, hate, that awareness that he would be miles further down the road if he were running with someone else. I hate keeping other people back.
And since I truly am a slower runner than everyone else, I am left with two options. I can either run by myself forever, which is a particular kind of hell for an extrovert like me. OR, I can run with people, swallow my pride, and trust that they are capable enough to do their speedwork some other time.
With practice, I’m getting better at responding with the second choice. This Fall, when I was in California, I ran to the ocean each morning with my friend Anne. The conversations we had on those morning runs made me a better human being.
I’ve run with a few friends here in Boise, even discovering some new trails I wouldn’t have explored on my own.
The best part of Christmas morning for me was running with the boys. Could they have run faster without me? Certainly. But did we still have fun? Yes.
I’ve also practiced accepting myself, loving my body, and trusting my instincts–three things that I know I should do, but for some reason have had trouble with. It is still a practice for me, but it gets easier each day.
I don’t know what my Star Word will be for 2013, but am thankful for my year of practice. It has made me less worried about making a fool of myself and has helped me walk into new experiences with more confidence and with permission to make mistakes. Whatever my new word may be, I expect I will keep “practice” hanging in my office. Practice isn’t quite done with me.