December 22, 2020
As We End this Year
By Amba Gale
I have been asking myself, “What conversation or conversations allow me to create completion around the year, 2020.” What an incredible, unprecedented year this has been! Most of us experienced a certain momentum going into this year. I know I did, and when March entered into our lives, my life, our lives, we were turned upside down. Asking myself, early on, “What is being asked of me? What lessons does this new ‘required curriculum’ we must move through in our lives, individually and collectively, give us an opportunity to now learn?” was a nourishing question with which to move through the year.
When I look, I see many lessons, and many learnings. I see I have made discoveries in what it takes to be resilient, to be innovative, to let go of my resistance to having to have things be a certain way, to embracing uncertainty, and generating a commitment to wonder while standing in constant shifting ground, to appreciating the extraordinary in the ordinary, to tap into my poetic imagination, to come to life from an attitude of gratefulness.
I am not talking about positive thinking here, or sugar coating what has been a time of heartache, grief, loss, exhaustion, for many; I am pointing to creating completion, rather than just being glad 2020 is over or has ended. One of the lines of the poems I have written, called “For Giving Endings,” cautions us, “only with completion can a new beginning start.” Completion means wholeness, healing, integrity. It includes the griefs as well as the joys, the challenges as well as the opportunities, the difficulties, as well as the ease.
Consider this possibility: the fast track to completion is Gratefulness. As Brother David Steindl-Rast says, “It is not happiness that makes us grateful. It is gratefulness that makes us happy.” Gratefulness is more of a perspective shaper than an emotion. We can create gratefulness, (how about “great fullness?”) as a way to approach our lives. It is a “way of being,” as Kristi Nelson says in her book, “Wake Up Grateful.” “Gratefulness opens us to the opportunity to experience gratitude in every moment.”
As you look back over the year, 2020, I invite you to look through the lens of Gratefulness. As you put those lenses on, perhaps you will see opportunities, gifts, in what this year has brought to you that you had not seen before.
What do you see?