Saturday, January 5, 2013

Sentimental “P” and New Year’s hopes

I usually approach a new year with enthusiasm, but for some reason I am cautious this year. I am discouraged by the tension in my work, and even more by my lack of discipline. I am struggling with loneliness and the whole aging process.
I clearly need perspective. The book of James encourages me today to ask for wisdom, to ask with faith in God who gives generously and without finding fault. It’s daily wisdom I need, the kind that enters into the nitty-gritty stuff of life. It’s wisdom for handling the minutes and hours of each day.
I am called this year (as in the past) to invest my life in prayer, poetry and people. How convenient that they all begin with the letter “P.”
“P” is a good letter. As a child I struggled with learning the alphabet song, especially the rush of the letters “L, M, N, O” that came right before “P.” I couldn’t distinguish them, much less sing them. So I substituted a word I had heard on the radio, a word with the same beat and number of syllables: “sentimental.” I sang, “…H, I, J, K, Sentimental P, Q, R, S…” etc. Consequently I felt great sympathy for the letter “P,” obviously a more emotional and sensitive phoneme than the other ingredients that went into the alphabet soup.
Prayer, poetry, people. I think I’ll add physicality to the list to remind me that if I don’t treat my body well (meaning sensible diet and regular exercise), none of the other will happen.
The keys are wisdom and the discipline to live it out day by day.
The goals are grace and glory. Gracious! My poetic propensity for alliteration is kicking in again. G, G and G. I’m hopeless.
Hopeless? No, not at all. But it’s Christ in me, the hope of glory. I’m reminding myself, even as I write.
Instead of resolutions, I will call the four “Ps” my hope list for 2013. It has a gentler feel than those tough-minded resolutions. More grace-filled. And I need all the grace I can get, now and every year.


  1. I almost gasped aloud when I read your first paragraph. It far too aptly describes my current perspectives or experiences or feelings or reality.

    Over the holidays I read John Goldingay's theological reflections on his life with his wife Ann, a doctor of psychiatry who suffered increasingly with multiple sclerosis. His book is "Walk On: life, loss, trust, and other realities." It's not a "pick-me-up" kind of book but it's full of deeper wisdom than we can humanly make up.

    I wonder if some of my, and your, tensions stem from the Spirit's preparation for the next stage. Another "P" might serve to hold the other "Ps" together, or even hint at their deeper Purpose. I'm not being clever here.

    Thank you again for keeping up this blog. I logged on hoping for someone to connect with before going to bed and was delighted to learn from you....again. Peace!

  2. Thank you. I will hold the other "Ps"--preparation and purpose--in the light today. They increase hope. Today Hal and I decided to intentionally choose life, even (especially) in the little things.