Your Solstice of the Soul

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2019, we are coming for you.

It is time for a #middlekindling of the soul.

I hope and pray each of you had the best Christmas yet. But even if you did not, there is still one more gift of Christmas, and it is waiting there just for you: the gift of being able to hope in God. It is always darkest just before dawn. Those who have seen this fact with the eyes of their soul, know it is no cliche. It is rock-bottom truth: Beginning December 21st and forward, light starts to grow greater than darkness.

Welcome to my version of Winter Solstice Soul Care. I am such a light-lover.

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2018


Taking out the
Trash of the past
Year
I really do get to
Walk away -
Wiping off the
Sticky prints
Of those dozen Judas’ kisses
From my cheek.
They aren’t worthy
To mingle with my
Tears that heal.

~Sheila Atchley

I write for women “in the middle” - in that 40-60 time of life. I also write to those women for whom middle age is mandatory, but cynicism is optional. I write to those women who are the older ones in the room, and I write to those women who desperately long to look up to the older ones in the room, hoping to see something that will give them more hope than they’ve found so far.

When the middle is lived well, it is a little like climbing to the top of a hill. You’ve paid a high price to get there, and the journey was difficult. You bear the joys and the scars of the trudge. Being there is a watershed place, where for the first time, you can see both the way you’ve come, and the way forward, with near-equal clarity. You may or may not have something of value to sell, but you definitely have something of infinite value to say.

And my Lord, now is the time for you to speak up, if that is you.

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On the first full day of winter solstice, my whole family (those who live in the various houses here on the culdesac) went on a hike - a nice, long one - to walk the truth of soul-care-solstice right on out: “In Him is light, and that light is the life of men.”

For me, I quietly walked away from every non-essential noun of 2018 (every person, place, thing, or idea).

If you haven’t gone for a walk-away in the woods, try it. Do it intentionally. If possible, do it with a few of your people.

It has been the best year of my life. I mean, “Hello, Italy. You were stunning. The Preacher and I fell in love with you.

Also, I received more art commissions this year, than all the years I have been painting put together. Another grand-wildling was added to the pack.

I heard the Lord speak to me and through me and over me more clearly than I have ever heard Him speak. And trust me, that’s saying something.

(I’m laughing so hard at my own pun. I hope you are too.)

I’ve also been faced with the biggest challenges of my life. This post got lived out, twelve kind of ways. I found these previous learnings to still be as sturdy and reliable as ever! So many would like to think of themselves as leadership material, but they cannot compost the crap that comes with the job. You’ll find them devolving into thinly veiled bitterness, setting out to take their dazzling gifts elsewhere, casting subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) blame with well-modulated public voices, but inwardly they are ravening-hungry for something they cannot have, without repentance: the respect that comes with doing the right thing, and the heavenly, eternal reward of true leadership.

And in my best Forrest Gump voice, “That’s all I’ve got to say about that.” For now.

We walked together, in those woods, while I inwardly moistened a hypothetical finger, and picked up the last page of 2018. It is still turning, as I type. On the backside of it is marked the word: FINI. Forgiveness is what makes those nouns of 2018 (persons, places, things, or ideas) non-essential in my life. By non-essential, I mean “no longer a factor - no longer important.” That is the little-talked about benefit of forgiveness, because it can, at first blush, sound like unforgiveness - this thought that you get to put someone completely out of your mind.

But you do! That’s the perk, and it is meant to be the perk of letting go. There is a type of forgiveness that involves up-close restoration. That kind is a two-way-street. We all say we want that, until it involves repentance. When repentance isn’t going to happen, there is a forgiveness that is wisely done from a distance. In that case, forgiveness is how you get to walk away, and don’t ever again have to give a second thought, or three hoots, or even one dang. It is no longer even necessary to give the benefit of the doubt. It’s all good, and you are at peace. You get to move ahead into what comes next!

Solstice Soul Care at its finest. Cue the lights.

“The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter…”