Words: Yours. And Mine.

For the first time, I’ve boarded the word for the year train. These sorts of things have to show up at your door unannounced, and for whatever reason, my bell never rang.

For a while, Miska’s had these annual encounters where a word arrives, vivid and undeniable. Given that I’ve married a mystic, I’ve found myself imagining what these moments are like for her. I’m sure she appreciates that. I imagine my mystic wife walking over the knoll of one of Ireland’s green hills (where else would such a fantasy be?). The grey mist knits a silky silhouette of her lovely shape. There’s always music, haunting Irish music. Then the word appears. The word may be aflame or carved into a rock. My favorite is when the word arrives from the voice of a man who has (of course) a strong Irish lilt, a man who is (of course) St. Patrick.

This year, I love Miska’s word. A future year, I could imagine it being mine. But it’s not – and that’s the crucial revelation. You can’t snag another person’s word. You can’t even snag another person’s conviction that you need to have a word. You can’t steal another’s word and you can’t steal another’s life and you can’t steal another’s voice or opportunity or physique. You have to find your own — find your own way, find your own self.

You’ll never meet your surprise guest so long as you’re waiting at everyone else’s front door.

Surprise Yourself

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.  
{Neil Gaiman}

Toward the New

And we begin again.

When the calendar turns, we do not erase what was; but, gathering the wisdom from the scuffs as well as the shining moments, we move beyond, forward. We learn from our mistakes. We remember and adjust. We take joy in all the laughter and love we have known in past days. We gather ourselves for the good we hope will come. And it will. Good will come.

Of course, everything we experience won’t be good – and some things that we’re certain aren’t good actually will be. Funny how that happens. But good awaits you. In some form. In some surprising place. Even now, good is waiting for you.

If your year past has been filled with failure or pain, do not despise it. There are years yet for the God of kindness to craft something of it. If your year past has been a coup of joy, savor it. Don’t hold it too tightly – it isn’t yours to possess. But savor it for the gift it is.

Either way, the new begins again. Not a negation of the past – no, even better: a creative remaking. A beginning. Again.


If you don’t know the writer Robert Benson, you should. He offered a gift of words for the New Year. I hope you’ll have the joy of receiving them.