Happy New Year! ♥
I hope you enjoyed ringing in the new year… with friends or at a watch night service at your church or in a quiet dream state in your own comfy bed. Wherever you were, may this symbolic turning page bring a moment of reflection. And perhaps a moment of looking ahead.
For quite a few years now I’ve been resisting that “set big resolutions for the new year” moment. Instead I like to engage in a practice that two friends in an academic writing group taught me. I make and share a list of ten things I did that mattered to me and others I care about in my life. Honoring the ways we spend our energy and love is a counter to false dreams of consumer culture (bigger, better, faster, cooler things).
A few days ago, I hosted a live zoom event. During “Tending the Fires” I took time to talk with my friend and fellow pastoral theologian, Rev. Dr. Duane Bidwell. He now works in medical education with the Veterans Administration. He is one of the people who taught me the “Ten Things I Did that Mattered” practice. Listen to five minutes of our conversation here.
And here is my list for 2022… HINT it was mostly ALL about people.
Ten Things I did that mattered in 2022
- Supported my daughter through taking extra classes so she could graduate in three years (May ’23) and applying to universities. She worked so hard!
- Traveled with my family to multiple places in the US. Always glad to put my feet in the ocean, climb a mountain trail, kayak across a lake, and encounter the earth and its creatures in their wildness and beauty.
- Accompanied my students through learning in four courses, and I wrote many recommendations for internships, residencies, and graduate school. I celebrated student learning and achievements in six capstone projects, two graduations, three ordinations, and numerous awards and recognitions.
- Last summer, I helped my mom with her business of 50+ years. This included cleaning, organizing merchandise, and helping her set up a successful open house and sale.
- After 8+ years, I resigned from two jobs and made space for important new work. This one included ALL the feels. Ultimately, it was liberating and empowering.
- Returned to in-person events and really enjoyed traveling, planning, meeting new people in person, speaking to groups, and sharing about LPI Project research, ministry in a new era, trauma, and spiritual care.
- Endured my first (and I hope only) bout with Covid-19. I’m grateful for vaccines, medication, and that my immediate family did not get infected. I’m deeply grateful that the elders I know who also contracted it, all survived it.
- Wrote and published and shared extensively from the #PandemicPastoring Report, including webinars, news articles, blogs, and workshops.
- I began transitioning the Writing Table from a volunteer offering since March 2020 to a sustainable offering of 3MMM which helps writers build daily writing habits, while also sustaining 3MMM offerings.
- Grieved with friends and family over the deaths of too many friends, partners, parents, and loved ones.
You are invited. Write your list of ten things you did last year that mattered. Do it for yourself. Share it with family and/or friends. Or even share it publicly. Join the resistance to culture’s ways of telling us what is important. Acknowledge for yourself what is truly important. The things you spent your time, energy, and love on in 2022. And if you decide to share your list on social media, tag me and/or 3MMM. We want to honor and celebrate your good, life-giving work with you.
What We Learned in 2022
In December, Matt Cook at the Center for Healthy Churches invited me to their weekly webinar. I was delighted to share what I learned in my research for the #PandemicPastoring Report. Listen to the panel of church leaders talk about surprises and other big learnings for churches and ministers during 2022.
Work with church groups or seminaries? Share this video to get a conversation going about what needs our attention in 2023.
More Than Ten Things That Matter in Theological Education
Do you teach or work in theological education? I hope you may find this article I wrote for the Association of Theological Schools in the US and Canada to be a good conversation starter. Several schools are already using it as a jumping off point. We all have work to do to meet this new era of ministry and prepare the current generation of students for it.