This year’s “One Word” post for the new year is dedicated to my friend Vicky Westra of Westra World, who had been one of my faithful companions in choosing a yearly word to guide and guard the 12 months ahead of each brand-new year for the past several years.
I have been doing this every year since 2008; my previous words have included: 2008, Awaken; 2009, Healing; 2010, Transition; 2011, Pursue; 2012, Ready; 2013, Joy; 2014, Expectation; 2015, Receive; 2016, Trust; 2017, Hope and Health; and 2018, Alive.
Vicky’s “one little word,” as she called it, for 2018 was: LOVE. And it was so very fitting. Vicky both exuded and seemed to collect love every day, despite the cancer that ravished her sweet body — and took her from us in October after a seven-year exertion.
I have thought of Vicky so often these past weeks. I feel her with me often, and despite the tinge of sadness that comes, I’m still left with a feeling of gratitude for her friendship and having known her these last eight years. With Vicky, there were always gentle smiles, words of hope, and plenty of optimism, despite her great suffering. I want to carry Vicky’s spirit with me into the new year, and one word that comes strongly to mind as I think of Vicky, and something she had offered me frequently, is this: wisdom. Therefore, with Vicky close by in spirit, I plan to bring “wisdom” with me into the year ahead.
And how might I concretely do this? One thought that came to me was to commit myself to reading the Book of Wisdom. This is one of the seven “deuterocanonical” books (second to canon) of Scripture. You won’t find this book in the Jewish Scripture, nor in any Protestant Bible. But whenever I come across readings from Wisdom in my daily devotional, “Magnificat,” I am always struck by them. So, I’m excited to dive further into WISDOM.
What I love about wisdom in general is that there are no age or educational requirements to be truly wise. Some of the wisest people I know are very young, and/or uneducated. Wisdom is not the same as intelligence, which is defined as, “The ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.” This, to me, is more technical, and not necessarily comprehensive, though it can be. It is, in a way, more “head smart.” Whereas wisdom is defined as “the quality of having experience, knowledge and good judgment.” I see this as more head and heart/soul smart, along with being more comprehensive. I would just add that experience doesn’t always lead to wisdom, nor does one need lots of experience to be truly wise. Sometimes, wisdom comes from the mouths of babes. But when it does, I would argue, it is the wisdom of God speaking through the innocent.
Wisdom is a quality, a gift, I have long admired and sought out. Though not always a requirement, age can play a part, and at the “wise old age” of 50, I’ve hopefully acquired some wisdom through the last five decades. But I’m also certain I have so much more wisdom to acquire, and that only through deepening my walk with the One who is Wisdom itself will this be possible.
Truthfully, this word excites me beyond that of some of my past words, which have all been fitting. But there’s something especially vital about it. It comes with it a sense of impending discovery and enlightenment. It also comes with demands. I cannot be idle here. Wisdom, though it can “happen” to us despite overt effort, requires a level of active participation and openness on our part.
To start things off right, the other day, I came across someone new-to-me on Twitter. She is not famous, or someone who has a million followers. She is a young mother from Canada whose words I have found wise, and refreshing. Here’s a sample. I’m looking forward to learning from Celeste in 2019.
Happily, I’ll also be accompanied by a mentor. St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, whose name was randomly chosen for me in the saint’s name generator created by Jennifer Fulwiler. I was thrilled to be “assigned” this revered saint of our time by this tool that I’ve used in the past several years to help choose a fitting saint to walk with me in the year ahead, and this one is not only dear to me, but certainly wise of the heart and soul.
With all this in wait, I feel ready to welcome 2019! May your year, as mine, be filled with the blessing of new insights, discoveries, and wisdom as we walk together with the Lord, who alone can show us the depths and dimensions of true wisdom.
Q4U: What is your “one word” for 2019?