In 1994, I took my first "Year for Me" because I wanted inner peace so badly I could feel it, taste it. I longed for it daily. It took a long time to get there, but with passion and perseverance I did become more peace-filled. Though I do wander off the peace trail once in a while. Who doesn't?
This current "Year for Me" carries a number of different longings along with it. It's not as simple as inner peace. It's more complex and multi-layered than that. It feels richer, deeper, like the creation of a beautiful tapestry.
It feels as if I'm weaving all the pieces of my life together.
As a child, I used to love making potholders. Perhaps you know the kind. We used a square metal "loom" with prongs. Varied colors, fabric loops. In and out, over and under you'd go.
It was a very simple process—though I never could figure out how to get the potholder off the loom once the weaving was done. My mother would have to employ her trusty crochet hook and do it for me. I always left the finishing up to her.
Now the process feels different. It's my life-loom I'm using and I'm the one who has to expertly bring all the pieces together, and finish it.
So many pieces ...
Childhood fun and sweet memories
The body aging
All the loves
The parts you'd wish you could forget but can't
Each of these brilliant-hued or dulled threads woven together creates a majestic tapestry of one's life. Each thread is precious, serving as a sturdy platform for the next to rest upon, without which there would be holes, gaps, where grace could fall through and be lost to us forever.
"Everything belongs," as Fr. Richard Rohr would say, so we bring everything of every hue to the weaving— the light and the dark, the joys and the sorrows. Without each tender moment and memory, the tapestry would be incomplete, pale, inauthentic.
But it takes time to do this kind of weaving. And it certainly takes longer than "A Year for Me." But at least we can begin to dedicate ourselves to this holy process, one of integration, a return to wholeness.
My sense is that in the weaving, this is the most valiant part: taking our seat at the loom and actually beginning. Being brave and steadfast enough to gather our materials together—the scatterings of our human self—and ever so gently guiding them into their proper place.
We take our seat, we select a thread, we breathe, we draw it deftly toward us and weave it through—over, under, over, under—allowing it to touch our very heart. We wait on grace to come through.
This time around, I'm delighted to be weaving a complete tapestry and not simply a potholder. Though a potholder is useful, a tapestry is soul-affirming.
I like to imagine that my tapestry can become a shawl, one I can place around my shoulders for comfort and warmth. It will remind me of how life has embraced me ...
... and of how, I, who have done the weaving, have embraced life as well.
is a touchpoint. a resting place, a "remembering" of who we really are and how we can best live—kindly and compassionately with ourselves and others.
Janice Lynne Lundy, DMin
is an educator, interspiritual director/guide and retreat leader who has been pointing people back toward the Sacred for more than twenty years. She is the author of several spiritual growth books, including Your Truest Self, My Deepest Me and Portable Peace., and is the co-founder and co-director of the Spiritual Guidance Training Institute.