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Beloved: We receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And his commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us. Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them, and the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit whom he gave us. 1 John 3:22

I don’t always make New Year’s Resolutions but sometimes, when I’m struck by an idea then I file it upstairs in my brain and I think, “yes, maybe this…” I went to bed just after midnight on Dec 31st. It wasn’t a disappointment, it was a treasure. When I was 20, maybe, there’d be some residual, “I should haves” in relation to my New Year’s Eve plans but now that I’m older, midway through my 40’s, my natural life probably half gone, I realize how much I love to sleep and how little easement I give to self care. So, I went to bed, just after midnight and I burrowed into my blankets and I sighed a little, because I was content, because I was happy, because I was just where I wanted to be right then and that’s important.

There, in between sleeping and waking I was struck by an idea and I tried to file it away upstairs in my brain someplace but it wouldn’t stick. It kept crawling out and poking me in the eye, in the ribs, in the place just under my chin where I may still be a bit ticklish. So I got up and I wrote it down. And the idea was that this year perhaps, now that I am a full participant in the Orthodox tradition, I ought to make some new commitments. Now that I’m in the “club” it would be easy to cruise for a while. Looking back what I’ve written here in the past and seeing the high degree of angst my conversion has offered this last two years I might be entitled to a little cruising after all but no, this idea that kept me awake on the first day of the New Year told me otherwise.

And so, each day I’ve been following the Liturgical readings according to the church calendar, as that persistent, nagging, tickling Thought had suggested to me just after midnight.

Today, the reading begins, “Beloved…” and I began to cry because I see now how it will always be important for me to know I am beloved. And I began to cry because I see now how it will always be important for me to press inward and onward and upward…always encouraging my roots to move deeper, my palms stretched up into the sky, moving with the wind, soaking up the sunlight that feeds me and always listening to the voice that speaks, “Beloved…”