The wet brown earth stretches, and the quilt of snow splits at its seams into shriveling patches, and cars smoking like cigars rumble out of scraped drives, the metallic enamels ashy. The last hours of the snow Sabbath dwindle; the old year slips through the neck of the glass, and its words and phrases and images blur like tumbled grains of sand.
It is now or never.
In the wee hours of yesterday morning, I open my journals and cast my net.
The load is heavy with wriggling words flashing their glittering scales.
Because if you are a Thinker, then you are over run with words and the only way to get to sleep at night is to write some of them down. And sometimes, one journal is not enough. You have a digital one, a small, easily portable one, and the great big, five section, college ruled, cloth covered spiral one.
And so the Journals lay open all around me, and I begin the task of reviewing the year, reeling in the words and encrypting moments of insight and resolution into brief tags with dates. The college ruled page is filling up, lines of code run perpendicular to one another, along the margin, around the punch holes next to the perforation. I work quickly, and soon the work is completed.
Another page is begun, and on this one the phrases are grouped, a map emerges.
Not a whole map, but one shaped like a puzzle piece, one that will connect to the other pieces that I have collected over the years. I cannot see the journey ahead of me, but I can see where I have been. And I have come to expect that there will be directions for where to go next.
The categories converge; all the experiences, the insights, the resolutions, the Bible Studies, the prayer, the counsels, the failings and beginning-agains have a commonality. I am not surprised. It is why I do this exercise again and again each year (and some years, more than once). I am putting together all that Father has taught me, what I can remember of it anyway.
I don’t want to forget any of the lessons learned as I move forward. That would be a sin of gross negligence to forget, to fail to be intentional in remembering.
And as the hour allotted to this task comes to its close, one phrase emerges. It is the treasure I sought, the one word to set the course for the coming season. I turn the page, and write on the trackless snow the first entry of the New Year.
My sweet, Thoughtful friends, have you, too, sought your one word for the year?
Then He opened their minds so that they could understand. . .