January 1, 2021

Early Wednesday morning, as I was returning from the mailbox with our copy of the Northern Virginia Daily, I noticed a full moon that seemed almost close enough to reach out and touch. It glimmered through the bare branches of the maple tree in our backyard. The sky was so clear that a few of the craters were visible. I told Rod to check it out, and even texted our son Seth, since 3-yr-old Marie-Hélène seems to like seeing the moon. For the next half hour I continued to check on it, out of the kitchen window, as I drove down Jefferson Street on my way to a 7 am grocery pick-up at Walmart, even as I approached Walmart on Reservoir Road, it was still above the mountains to the west.  

These sorts of moments call for savoring and sharing. As I’ve thought about letting go of 2020 and looking forward to 2021, I’ve wondered what sort of intentions I might make. One of the big lessons of this past year has been the power of attentiveness to moments. Times with family, times with friends (even if only virtually), and times when I’ve been aware enough of the world around me to pause in wonder and amazement.  These have been the daily gifts in a difficult year. They are occasions of grace.

We’ve all been so anxious to get to 2021, that I fear we will be disappointed when things don’t change overnight. COVID-19 numbers will continue to climb for a period. Our political and social challenges didn’t happen overnight, and won’t be solved on January 20. Back to normal is still months away.

My intention, in order to stay centered and grounded for the next difficult months, is to pay attention, to notice, to savor something every single day. I have a mental list which I intend to write and keep on my desk as a reminder of opportunities for savoring. These include: taking time to enjoy the first sip of coffee in the morning; savoring a piece of dark chocolate, cutting open an orange and smelling it’s scent; sitting quietly in my favorite chair with the word “trust” in my soul; listening – really listening – to a song or the wind or the river flowing over the rocks; looking up at the sky a different times of the day; lingering in the shower; sharing a hug with my husband; making eye contact and smiling at someone; laughing without restraint with others; breathing a silent “thank you” at the end of the day. I imagine the list will grow over time. What would be on your list?

“Consider the lilies of the fields” (or any of the things you might put on your list). That was Jesus’ guidance in times of worry. ~ Anne

During this season of COVID 19, St. Paul’s UCC Woodstock, VA offers these meditations as a service to the community.

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