Friday, November 25, 2011

37 Days until the End of the Year

That's right; only 37 days until the end of 2011. What are you going to do with these final 37 days?

The first thing I would recommend is that you go to this website. Patti Digh has been a writing and blogging crush of mine for years. I own all of her books, except the last one... at least, I don't own it yet. Every time I'm up in Asheville, I look around for that head of white hair, hoping to meet her, get an autograph, and perhaps grab lunch at The Laughing Seed. But so far, no luck.

She planted this 37-day seed in my head and heart years ago -
what would you do if you had only 37 days left to live?
Why aren't you doing those things now?

So about a week ago, it hit me: count off the last 37 days of this year, and then figure out a way to make them count. Not that I'm leaving for Spain or Italy and spending our savings account in five star hotels, drinking all the chianti I can legally purchase, and buying the best that Armani has to offer - if they even had anything in my size. Nor am I eating all the Darrell Lee red Australian licorice that Target has in stock. I haven't made a list of all the people who have ever offended me and sent them nasty notes lined with red ant larva expressing my anger. In fact, none of those things even occured to me until I started typing this paragraph.

What I am planning is to take time each day to reflect on the wonder that is my life and my story. I will spend time each day writing in the special journal I have created for these 37 days. The scrapbook supplies I've been saving for "a special occasion," the stickers that I've repeatedly postponed using, the pens and markers that I have always said I would use when ... something important happened sometime in the future. Well, that future time has arrived, and all that stuff is now bound into 2 inch looseleaf rings, ready to be filled with this year's final thoughts, photos, and quotes.

During these 37 days, I will look back at photos and videos I've taken this year, remember the places I've been, the people I've had a glass of wine with, the graduations I've attended, the visitors I've hosted, the hosts that have welcomed me as a visitor, the prayers I've raised and the answers received, the church I finally stepped away from, the one that is welcoming me in these days, the people I've met this year and the ones I've lost along the way - whether through death or attrition - and the long-term friends that have never considered walking away. These will be 37 days of prayer, music, writing, gratitude, intention and reflection.

They will also be 37 days of eating, drinking, and being colorful.
Days of Mondo Beyondo dreaming.
Days of making plans and lists of goals and hopes for 2012.
Days of reading Uncommon Gratitude,  Cutting for Stone and Simply Wait.
Days of waiting for the arrival of the Christ Child, not only in the manger of Bethlehem, but also in the messy, smelly animal stall that my soul feels like most of the time.
Days of counting down towards the New Year that will arrive soon thereafter.

We all have 37 days until the end of the year. I play to use my 37 days to pay close attention to my life, to what is and what is not in it, to what I have and what I am glad I don't have, to who I am and who I am becoming, to everyone and everything around me and within me, and to bask in the love I have received, the grace, the comfort, the forgiveness, the joy, and looking forward to another year in which to live and grow and share myself with others.

What are you going to do with these next 37 days?


Kim Mailhot said...

From one Patti Digh lover to another,
Here's to being present for every single on of those precious 37 Days !
Cheers !

Louise Dutko said...

Thank you for reminding me of the 37 days until the end of the year. I am also a Patti Digh fan. Just can't get enough of that woman. I'm going to follow your lead and celebrate the last 37 days. Louise