We stand at the threshold of another new year. The idea of going through a doorway into something new is a common, yet powerful, metaphor for change. A few days ago, a friend who was my parish priest in Silver City, Paul Moore, posted his reflection on being At the Door to something new, as he transitions from ministry in the desert Southwest to ministry in the Pacific Northwest. Paul’s transition occurs in conjunction with the changeover in calendar years, but it doesn’t always happen that way.
I once posted about living through a series of three-year cycles of change, as Henry and I embarked on yet another move, from Silver City to Tucson three years ago. Being conscious of the shift, of walking out a doorway from Silver City and into a new stage of life, helped me honor the transition that was occurring, even as I sometimes wrestled with the change.
Perhaps that need to recognize changes in our lives is why we, as a culture, have come up with various ways to mark the transition to a new year. We have Baby New Year and Father Time, meeting in that midnight doorway on New Year’s Eve. We have new year’s resolutions, which we seldom keep. We have countdowns and parties and, out here in the west, the tradition of celebratory gunfire (which is why you will never find me outdoors very late on New Year’s Eve night!).
Instead, I prefer to mark the year with quiet reflection. I can still remember one year, now decades ago, up in the snowy mountains of northern New Mexico. I escaped a cabin full of rambunctious family to spend part of a chilly early evening sitting out under the stars, contemplating my life to that point. I honestly can’t remember the content of my reflections, but I can still place myself in that spot in my mind and heart.
This year, I have decided to focus some time and energy on reflective questions about my business. I have been an increasingly successful (at least financially) solopreneur for six and a half years now—and I’m grateful. Yet it has not transpired the way I had expected.
Back when I first became self-employed, I knew that my editing and writing for clients would comprise the bulk of my income, but I had a vision. I imagined that, over time, I would increase the percentage of time and income devoted to spiritual ministry, until it eclipsed my editing and I was able to work only as a spiritual guide, retreat leader, and in related spiritual ministries.
Instead, writing and editing (and now writer coaching) has continued to comprise the vast majority of my income. In fact, that percentage continues to increase. In 2017, 70% of my income was from writing and editing for clients; this year it will top 80%.
Initially, this troubled me greatly. I paid attention to this trend over the year, noticing and pondering, and eventually talking with friends. What I’ve realized, as a result of those prayers and conversations, is how much of a ministry my writing and editing truly is. Instead of a transition in activities, I’m recognizing a transition in perspective. I’m walking through the doorway into 2019 desiring to be the most ministerial editor and writer that I can.
And so I pause in the doorway between 2018 and 2019, giving thanks for what is unfolding, and for a perspective that welcomes the shifts and changes in my life.
What do you see, as you pause in the doorway of the new year? What perspectives, or commitments, is God inviting you to notice, and embrace?