By Bruce Stambaugh
I never believed much in New Year’s resolutions. I prefer to view the big picture. Besides, by now, I may have already broken half my resolves.
This year, rather than aim to lose five pounds in a month, I want to lean into the wind. That should be easy for me. I’m known to be a little windy from time to time.
You can blame my young pastor for this idea. He’s young because he’s half my age. Pastor Patrick recently preached a sermon about making yourself available and vulnerable to lean into life’s daily situations, good and bad, the way you would brace yourself against a good gale.
I liked that image a lot. I’ll share a few ways I plan to apply the concept. I want to challenge myself to embrace all that swirls around me, positive or negative, this year. We learn from either perspective.
Despite my loss of dexterity, I will lean into the wind and hold a child’s hand, steadying her wobbling stroll across a room. Though my hearing is diminished, I will listen attentively to what others have to say, even though I may vehemently disagree with their opinion or decision.
Though my eyesight is aided with bifocal glasses, I will look for the simplest pleasure nature has to offer. A breathtaking sunrise, a singular drop of water hanging perilously at the end a leaf, a brilliant wood warbler migrating north will all be part of my leaning into the wind.
Even though my cranky knees limit my mobility, I will do my absolute best to bend low to pick up trash thoughtlessly discarded by others. If someone else is leaning into the wind nearby, maybe they’ll help me back to my feet.
Leaning is an active verb, not passive. Life is a series of winds of various velocities that shift daily. We can only feel the wind. We measure it by the effects on everything the wind touches, whether it does so fiercely or persistently.
Regardless of the velocity, life’s winds affect us all. Leaning in enables us to practice gratitude and joy, the byproducts of vulnerability.
Life offers no guarantees. It is full of pitfalls and mistakes as well as abundant joy and beauty. I want to discard the rose-colored glasses, and recognize the good from the bad. I want to accept them for what they are, and lean into 2014 accordingly.
The blizzard winds of January will eventually subside. Before we know it, invigorating breezes of May, with their warm, sweet fragrances and life-giving rains, will arrive as a blessed balance for us all.
A friend of mine shared a picture of an old apple tree, trunk bent from age and time, some limbs broken and sagging. The caption beneath the old tree defined what I mean by leaning into the wind.
It read, “A little bent by time, shaped by the wind and the seasons, a few branches broken. Today I feel like that old apple tree. But I’m still reaching for the sky, and doing my best to take in what the world gives me and turn it into something good and useful.”
By leaning into the wind, I can anticipate enduring, absorbing and embracing all of the various breezes that life blows my way in 2014.
Who knows? I might even lose five pounds in a month.
© Bruce Stambaugh 2014