I’ve got a list of dreams for 2018 taped to the inside cover of my journal. Big hopes – like writing a book, hard resolutions – like being a better friend, small goals – like keeping my inbox organized. (That actually might be moved over to the hard list.) Dreams, hopes, goals, resolutions and lofty ideas of how I wanted to shape my year, scribbled across paper under palm trees with the sound of the ocean crashing behind me. Jotted down with grandiose intentions when the days were at their easiest and potential seemed at its brightest.
Anything’s possible in a tropical paradise on January first, right?
The dreams seem a little heavier today. The gray sky and cold air are trying to give our parched winter some snow, but they only manage a few flakes here and there before the wind takes over. And I’m over here trying just as hard with the same meager output. I scratch out my daily agenda over a cup of coffee. I attempt to move through it with energy and delight, but by 9 a.m. I’m trudging through it at the pace of those DMV sloths in Zootopia, wondering how it’s possible that bedtime is still half a day away.
I keep hearing bad news. Globally, nationally, in our community, from the ones I love most. How do you hold your head up and keep moving forward when it will just get beaten down again?
I’m pretty sure February was made for hibernating, and unless you’re on the ski slopes the couch is really the place to be. I’m hoping the rest of the world will get this memo. But until they do I’ve got to keep getting up each morning, I’ve got to keep doing the next thing.
So here’s what I do. When things get bleak, when the shortest month of the year is really the longest, when the dreary skies match my inner acedia.
Just. Do. One. Thing.
I’ve got my hopeful list. The one with dozen ways to improve myself. I set that to the side. That’s for the blue sky days. That’s for the seasons that don’t weigh a thousand tons. Today my list has one thing.
For me, right now, the one thing is short and simple. Get my heart rate up outside. Brisk walks, quick sprints, long runs, spur of the moment games of tag on the playground. My hands may be papery dry and cracking on all the edges, my nose is probably dripping and then crusting over, I haven’t been warm all week, but if I can breathe in fresh air and feel my heartbeat pound a little I’m going to be ok.
I’ve had other one things before.
- Get my fingers running across my piano scales.
- Push pause every afternoon for teatime and a book.
- Throw out the yoga mat and stretch my body.
- Sing Disney songs in the morning.
- Start each morning out on the front porch in prayer.
- Light a candle every evening.
Each season is different, requiring different rhythms of rejuvination. And though it’d be nice to do all the things all the days, it won’t happen and the pressure to get to everything will keep you from doing anything.
So choose your one thing.
- Get into scripture every morning.
- Bike to work each day.
- Take a lunch break nap.
- Turn off your phone after dinner
- Listen to worship music in the shower
- Write down your gratitude list every evening
- Do push ups right after you get up
- Pray before bed
When the months are at their harshest you’ve got to be the gentlest. The days are lengthening, we are mere weeks away from spring’s arrival, this season won’t be forever. You will get to the long list of dreams.