I don’t make New Year resolutions, because, like the rest of the world, I am hopeless at actually sticking with them, and I end up just feeling like a failure. But I do have a few things that I’d really like to happen in this new year. In no particular order, here are five:
I practiced Sivananda yoga for years when I was in the Borders and loved it. I even considered training to be a yoga instructor at one point. Yoga, more than anything else, helped me cope with a devastating bereavement, and taught me to appreciate what my body can do after years of focusing on the things it can’t. I would walk out of class feeling physically, mentally and emotionally stronger.
When I moved to Edinburgh, I promised myself I would find a yoga class. I tried. But either I didn’t like the instructor, or the classes were too far away, or the times clashed with all of ministry’s varied commitments. So I haven’t practiced regularly for over two years. And because yoga encouraged me to notice how my body was reacting to the stresses and strains of life, I think it’s not a coincidence that once I stopped that regular practice, depression gradually returned.
This WILL be the year I start to practice yoga again. I can’t afford not to.
After the excitement of the Scottish Referendum, I decided I needed to be more active in politics — or at least more aware of what is going on around me. I haven’t acted on that yet. So in 2015, I will join a political party. I won’t say which one, though those of you who know me well will probably guess. I need to stop being so pathetically cynical and critical and actually start doing something.
I’d love to say that 2015 will be the year I return to Palestine. But I’m not convinced that will be the case. Regardless, I don’t want to lose the momentum and enthusiasm I gained on my trip. I came home and started following dozens of organisations on Facebook and Twitter, and there may be one or two that I can get involved with. But mostly, I want to focus on raising awareness of the issues — and ways we can respond — within the churches in Scotland, and especially in the Scottish Episcopal Church. Those of us who travelled together will meet early in the year to talk about how we can work together with each other and Christian Aid throughout Scotland. And no doubt the blogging on this will continue…
God willing, this will be the year I finish my curacy and move on to a charge of my own. Conversations about that will start soon. This is the point where I should write, ‘I will go where God calls me,’ but that comes across as hopelessly pious, and God and I usually end up arguing about this kind of thing (though, interestingly, not about a curacy at Old Saint Paul’s — that was one of the few times we agreed).
I will be sad to leave OSP. I feel at home there and very much a part of the community, and there is much I will miss. But at the same time, I feel ready to move on, and that’s a sign that the curacy has done what it was meant to do.
As for what’s next, only time — and God — and the Bishop (a rather terrifying combination), will tell.
Each new year holds an element of surprise. Sometimes unexpected joys, sometimes unexpected losses. Oftentimes both. But that’s one of the most exciting things about this season.
I used to think of New Year as a liminal time, a threshold out of something old into something new. But actually, now I prefer the image of weaving, a year as the rhythm of the shuttle guiding the weft, a pattern ever so slowly beginning to emerge, or evolve, or change as life continues and the cloth grows.
Past mistakes which seemed glaring at the time, decisions I made without understanding why, passions which seemed to be passing phases, all now have become part of an intricate design — not entirely perfect, not entirely tidy, not entirely beautiful — but unique.
And so, here’s to a new year. Whatever it brings, may it be rich with colour.