Sunday, January 01, 2012


My word for 2011 is blossom.

For months now, I've known that I am in a season of change. In retrospect, it began over a year ago with dreading my hair, though I didn't realize it at the time. It is proving to be a season of spiritual change as I reflect and re-evaluate my faith and my vision of the church, of what the church is meant to be and how I fit into it and how that affects and effects my relationship with God. It's a season of emotional and existential change as I reflect on my identity, my role in our family, my role in society at large. I have been meditating on what and how I contribute, on the value of what I do, on balancing my desires for my children, my family, and myself. I have been struggling with how to balance what I do with what I think, my full-time mothering with my feminism.


It's complicated. It's challenging. At times it's a little heartbreaking, when my ideals appear to exist in conflict with one another and I need to reconcile them. And finding space in which to delve into these matters, giving myself the mental space to deal with it all is incredibly difficult. Small-space living as a family of four is snug and cozy, but it does come with a few drawbacks, and the premium placed on solitude is one of them.


I've staked out some space at a Starbucks a few blocks from our apartment - my beloved Bridgehead is closed today, and I need space, tea, and free wi-fi. Jon is home with the girls. They are fine without me there (I am very grateful, for a whole host of reasons, that at very-nearly 8 months old, I am no longer Bubby's sole food-source). I have time and the ability to think.


Why 'blossom'? I considered other words. I considered 'bloom', 'bud', 'sprout'... But I settled on blossom.

blos·som   [blos-uh]noun Botany .
1.the flower of a plant, especially of one producing an edible fruit.
1.the flower of a plant, especially of one producing an edible fruit.
2.the state of flowering: The apple tree is in blossomverb (used without object)3.Botany . to produce or yield blossoms. flourish; develop (often followed by into  or out ): a writerof commercial jingles who blossomed out into an importantcomposer.
5.(of a parachute) to open.
and from the World English Dictionary:
(of plants) to come into flower
to develop or come to a promising stage: youth had blossomed
into maturity
I have been resisting the change I feel happening. I have been holding onto fear and turning away from the bravery and vulnerability I need to face in order to allow that change to happen. But I can't resist any longer. For that reason, I briefly considered claiming the word 'brave' but decided against it. I know that I need to be brave, but simply saying that I'm going to be brave without pointing to why I will be brave, without looking toward what will come of that bravery will not help me. I need to accept the challenge and move forward into change. Bravery is merely one of the tools I need to take me there. The mark on which my eye is laid is to blossom.

In blossoming, what will be comes out of what is. What is - the beginning, the genesis, the bud - is good, and it is beautiful and sweet and dear, but what will be - the blossom - is its destiny. It is what is meant to be. It is what must be. It is, literally, necessary for fruition.

I have been tucked inside for too long. I have been curled unto myself, holding within the potential for beauty, for the bearing of fruit. I've resisted the blooming, afraid. Afraid of failure. Afraid of rejection. Afraid of not succeeding the way I presume that I should. Afraid of disappointing myself, my family. Afraid of over-extending myself. Afraid of being challenged. Afraid of changing into someone I don't recognize, not because who I might become would be so terrible but because I think that I am comfortable.

But I'm not. I'm not comfortable. I am frustrated. I'm not frustrated in my life - my family, my husband, my children, our life together, is life-giving and sustaining - but frustrated in my production. I have been soaking up goodness, wisdom, thought, reflection, ideas, beauty for ages: the time has come to contribute. It's time to  own my voice. 


Some of the ways I am going to blossom are:

*voicing my needs 
*allowing and forcing myself to embrace discomfort
*accepting that things which have been may be coming to an end in order make space for what will be
*acknowledging and embracing that my faith and my past expressions of it are changing and I have to allow that change to happen
*using my innate and developing creativity to contribute to the global conversation as well as contribute to the family purse
*growing in community

I hope you'll come with me on this journey to blossoming. 

And then the day came, 
when the risk
to remain tight 
in a bud 
was more painful 
than the risk 
it took 
to Blossom.
Risk - Anaïs Nin

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