When the year turned from 2013 to 2014, I was having dinner with my mom while we watched the countdown on TV. We had too much food, as always, and I was starting to reply to the New Year greetings I received earlier. Before that, I was in my parents’ room, watching Pitch Perfect, because it was on TV, and I smiled when I remembered that last year, I was also watching the same movie with my best friends while we waited for 2013 to come.
And before that, I was in my room, planners from the past two years open beside my 2014 planner, crumpled pieces of paper surrounding me as I read and reviewed and updated my 5-year and 2-year plan, and my 2014 plans. I was sort of freaking out with all the planning, but two hours later, I was done — and it was still a couple of hours before midnight.
So how did you spend you celebrate the turn of the year?
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I think my word for 2014 found me even before I found it. Unlike last year, though, this one didn’t dare me at all. Courage crept up on me and then tapped me on the shoulder and almost demanded for it to be my word for 2013. My word for 2014 didn’t, but it followed courage shortly after I owned that word, and just sat there, sometimes almost unnoticed.
During the hard days, it tried to make its presence known. I can see it, but I can’t look at it for a long time because it was easier to just sit and wallow on the harder things. I can’t bear to be that word, even if some people I knew said I was that kind of person. It was hard to notice it, because it felt like there was no reason to feel that, to be that.
But by the end of 2013, the word was becoming bolder, and through the other experiences and the people that surrounded me, it tried to make me see it more. And eventually, I did. It felt like a friend who I haven’t seen in a while — especially if we refer to the context of the last few weeks of 2013 — and it was kind of nice just sitting with it and thinking of how it will make my 2014…well, joyful.
So the truth was, I knew that it was going to be my word for 2014 even before 2013 ended. And when I acknowledged it, I was actually excited. And it was nice to be excited.
So, my word for 2014 is DELIGHT.
Originally, it was supposed to be joy, but when I did some research, I thought delight sounded better. I liked how it meant the same thing — joy — but it also had the word light in it, like the word is about lighting someone up with joy. Doesn’t that sound nice?
But just because I chose this word for 2014 doesn’t mean it will be completely happy all the time. If anything, I know that owning a word for a year meant that I will be faced with opportunities to be joyful, to take delight. Of course my heart will probably break again at some point in this year — but that’s a given, anyway. I don’t think I’ll be surprised with that anymore, and if anything, my Year of the Brave taught me that it’s a fact of life and I just have to be ready for them. I can’t control what could happen, but I can control how I react to it.
So I choose to take delight.
Delighted, overjoyed – we so often mistake those words for happy, or, more honestly, for naively cheerful or optimistic. We think that if we name those adjectives, we’re making it sound like we (or God or both) aren’t taking hurt seriously. That we have missed suffering. That we have lost sight of the ache of the world and are applying a pink band-aid to the gaping wounds.
But it is the work of delight and joy to come close to suffering, even closer than the so-called serious realism. It is through joy, not cynicism, that we approach the unspeakably difficult.
Because joy and delight are not happy feelings: they are the choices to let love win. They are the choice to trust love triumphant. Joy is a choice to believe God when He calls what He has made very good, and a choice to draw near to that very good world in its ache and terror and sadness.
They are the choices to let love win, to trust love triumphant. I want that kind of joy, I want to learn to delight. No matter what happens in my life. I want to learn to always take delight. I want to choose and believe that love always wins.
Funnily enough, the second part of Neil Gaiman’s New Year’s Wish in 2013 was also about joy, and it sort of feels like I’m just picking up on this after the Year of the Brave: And whatever happens to us, whatever we make, whatever we learn, let us take joy in it. We can find joy in the world if it’s joy we’re looking for, we can take joy in the act of creation.
2014 is the year to take delight. :) And this is not just for me, but also for you, who is reading this blog post right now. I don’t want to wish the pain away, but I wish that you find joy even in the midst of it. I wish that you the strength to take delight even in the direst of situations. I wish you the kind of joy that lasts, that sits inside your heart to warm you through the cold nights, and that bursts and celebrates life for all its beauty. I wish you all the kind of joy that you will share with others, so we can delight in one another’s presence the way God is overjoyed with us.
This 2014, I wish you delight. Happy new year, everyone. :)