BELIEVE: 2015 {YEAR OF VALOR}

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I call them the Solomon days. I anticipate your blank stares. What do you mean the Solomon days? I understand. I texted my cousin those words a few days ago, telling him, I was falling into the Solomon days and he said, ‘I don’t know what that is…to the cloud!’ but Google doesn’t seem to have a repertoire or reference of my personal sayings (not yet anyway) so let me explain.

The book of Ecclesiastes (vastly associated with the Israelite King Solomon) follows the king as he pursues an endless array of human diversions. Wealth, sex, food, possession, and so on…whatever it is that people pursue, the king pursued…and yet in the end he says ‘all is vanity’ and it’s all meaningless and chasing at the wind.

And so sometimes, (and I find this has been the case more, and more, in the last few years of my life) I find myself slipping into the Solomon days. I want to be ambitious as I see others being. I’m at a time in my life where I’m supposed to be focusing on making my retirement, and having a good job, buying a house, getting a husband, making babies…and so on and so forth. And yet, so frequently I find myself dumbfounded with the lack of meaning in all these human doings. So many people pursue them thinking they will yield happiness, but before I even start I find myself stuck in the trap of finding them not even worth the pursuit because I know they are, in of themselves, empty and hollow doings. I’ve lived long enough to know that we may very well have these lofty goals, and strive towards them, and even when we reach them, they are not what they promised.

Example: for much of my life, I have struggled with my weight. Finally, in my mid-twenties, I lost a substantial amount.  While there were good things about that process, I quickly realized that it didn’t make me happy. I argued with myself it was simply because I hadn’t lost ALL the weight and if I could just lose those last thirty pounds… I’d be happy and everything would come together. Lies. Amazingly, in the last few months, I’ve come to weigh something very close to a healthy weight. For the first time in my adult life, I barely qualify as overweight. While there is an endless list of things I thought “when I lose weight, this will be different,” truth is, I’m very happy with how I feel and look right now. I’m somewhat excited, and overall I feel healthier and more at home in my skin. I’ve lost weight in what I believe is a healthy way, and I’m glad. But the reality is, I’m not a different person than I was last fall before I lost the extra weight, (or at least in the important ways.) And really, I’m not so different than I was at my heaviest weight around age 22. I’m still me, and the things that made me sad are still sad, and the things that are dreadfully boring are still dull as dust, and life holds no more pleasure for me than it did then. I’m not saying it isn’t a good thing, being healthy is a good thing. But it is what it is. And it’s certainly not everything I would have thought it was.

All is empty, and vanity, and grasping at the wind.

You hold on so tight, only to find that it was nothing that you were holding onto. All that you sought is invisible, vanished before it can be revealed.

And yes, people are truly what matters in life, but even relationships can leave you as lonely as you were when you were alone. I truly believe, there is no earthly thing capable of satisfying the human heart.

Nonetheless, I made a list of things to do this year. I thought perhaps that would fill up the void. It’s a good list and sometimes reading it makes me a little excited about the possibilities. Sometimes.

I’m not sure what the answer to this is. I’m not sure if everyone feels these things, or only those of us given to a melancholy side? As I was texting my cousin this morning he said that he heard somewhere that instead of making a new year’s resolution, you should pick a word for the year.  And I really like that idea.

Today I found out that an acquaintance of mine passed yesterday; she died of cancer. She was barely older than I, younger than my sister, mother of two adopted little girls (not much older than my nephew) and while I didn’t know her well, I knew that she was a lovely human being. And she is gone. And I am here. She lost her fight to living, but I am here fighting for the desire to enjoy being alive.

The word came to me almost before I had time to think about it, and the word is Valor.

This year I want to be a woman of valor.

Val·or

Noun: valour

Great courage in the face of danger, especially in battle.

Synonyms bravery, courage, pluck, nerve, daring, fearlessness, audacity, boldness, dauntlessness, stout-heartedness, heroism, backbone, spirit; guts, true grit, spunk;

The idea comes from something that’s been in my mind for weeks now, a rather well-known string of verses found in the end of the book of proverbs—A woman of valor, who can find her? She is more precious than jewels.

I’m not sure what the answer to the Solomon days really is. I’m not sure what valor will look like this year. But tonight I looked in the mirror and told myself to enjoy my life. I told myself to be in love with my life. I told myself to be strong when things feel empty. They are not empty, and nor am I. I think at the core of the Solomon days is fear. The fear that I will never be happy, the fear that I will never matter, the fear that none of this stuff we do here matters! The fear that I will fail at what I seek, the fear that the people I love will reject me, the fear that I will be alone, and unloved. But these fears are a liar. It may be true, that this is all grasping at the wind, but I have to believe there is meaning to be found in the littlest things. Whatsoever you do, eating, drinking … do it as unto God. These aren’t the great things, but the little things. Little things done with the right motive can become mighty. And the little things become big things. The little things; telling stories, washing feet, feeding the hungry, sharing bread and wine and friendship. But the little things take valor too… perhaps at times, even more so than the big things. And most days, my life is full of little things. So today I chose to fight for my joy, and this year I choose valor.

~Elle

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