Well, New Year’s Eve has come and gone. We’ve turned over those new leaves (whatever that means) and now we’re trying to decipher what the underside has in store for us. Some of us only take a peek before we quickly flip those leaves back over and pretend we never had any of those ambitious resolutions in the first place. Others are launching into new diets and exercise routines with a vigor that will most likely burn out within a month. If you’re like me, coming up with resolutions is a blast, but the follow-through proves to be a difficult task. Which is why I turned this year’s resolutions into resolu-fun!
The trick? Start small and have fun. Mini-resolutions, if you please. These mini-resolutions come in neat packages and promise instant gratification while hinting at a future opportunity for a change in lifestyle (if you so choose to accept your mission).
What in the world is she talking about? You ask, as you scan your list of resolutions to see if any of them seem mini, or at least small enough to fit in your mailbox.
Knitting. I’m talking about knitting.
I started knitting two days ago and not only am I already 1/16th of the way done with my first lumpy, puke-colored, spiderweb of a scarf, I have also (if I so choose to accept my mission) opened a crochet-covered door to a more self-sufficient lifestyle. Although currently a knitting novice, I optimistically imagine that someday I will become a professional. Every blanket in my house will be knit by me, every potholder in my kitchen will be a labor of my love, every gift I give will reek of the sweat I worked up as I frantically power-knit it the night before.
Of course, I’m not saying knitting is the be-all end-all for everyone. Raising one tomato plant could turn into a garden, playing a new card game could become a family tradition, buying one bar of Apple Valley Natural Soap could be the start of a more environmentally friendly and naturally healthy life.
Resolutions don’t have to be huge or life-altering, what matters most is embracing the promise of a new year.
With that being said, I understand that turning over into a new year also means facing the unexpected. We like resolutions because they give us a sense of control over our destinies. But the truth is, the New Year may bring on hardships that we’d rather not deal with. If you find yourself secretly dreading this upcoming year, don’t panic, you’re not alone.
My sweet Nana passed away unexpectedly at the end of October after a slow and tiring battle with a rapidly progressing form of dementia and my family is now faced with the unbearable process of moving forward. We find ourselves on the cusp of a new year forced to deal with something we didn’t anticipate. There is nothing neat or packable about death and there is nothing simple about moving forward.
Mentally, it seems unnatural. During difficult times, grief seems to occupy every moment and keeps us frozen in place, like leaves trembling upon a branch in the midst of a bitter winter. We define moving forward as an active process that requires “picking yourself up and dusting yourself off.” I would argue that this is not true. From what I have experienced these past couple months -- in a spiritual sense -- moving forward happens naturally.
Moving forward is a subtle process and for my family it involves crying. We cry over Nana’s music box collection, we cry over mushroom soup that will never taste quite right without her, we cry over butterflies and rainbows and dolphins and everything else beautiful that reminds us of the beautiful being she was. At first I mistook the crying for grief, but I’ve come to understand that the crying is actually a sign of moving forward. Every tear we share together is a step, a moment to thaw the grief. Moving forward doesn’t mean letting go, it means mending, knitting, and healing.
At first glance, this post doesn’t have much to do with soap. But Apple Valley Natural Soap’s mission is to help others embrace the blessings of natural ingredients through their products and it was reflecting on this idea that inspired me to consider the natural blessings of life. From the ability to knit, to the grace evident in the process of moving forward, God always provides an open window (and maybe crocheted curtains).