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Jen Dickey

Burning bowl and white stone are two annual ceremonies with profound significance in my life. As each year concludes I release anything I’m still holding onto from the year I do not wish to carry into the new year by writing on a piece of paper then watching as it catches fire and turns to ash before my eyes. It is an unspoken commitment to me to [ once more, with feeling ] evict lack and limitation from my lifestyle, and in that newfound space open myself to higher thought and possibility. Put simply, the burning bowl ceremony is Marie Kondo-ing your mind, and I love it.

We don’t need to wait until the end of each year to make changes just as we don’t withhold reflecting and sharing our gratitude until we are around the table Thanksgiving Day, and that mental picture of twisted, blackened, transfigured paper flashes in my head when I return to the reality I can let go of whatever whenever. So with that fresh space I shift my focus to the name or word revealed in a time of silent reflection, scribbled on a white stone quarried from the holy land of Jerusalem, which made its way into my hands in Houston, Texas, and atop my desk for routine reflection. The word for this year, revealed on Wednesday, January 8, 2020: STEADY. Not sure about that but thank God it’s not PATIENCE…I’m sure as hell not ready for that level of commitment in my life.

Like a kid on Christmas morning eager to figure out how their new toy works, I stare at this stone with equal curiosity what it could mean and why a word I don’t use in my every day vocabulary arrived intuitively, through my pencil, and onto this stone. Allow me to reintroduce myself: “Hi, I’m Jen Dickey, and I’m a classic over-thinker with an obsession for manipulating a concrete who/what/when/where/why/how if it does not present itself to my satisfaction.” If you instinctively responded with “Hi Jen” know that I’m smiling. There’s something purely delightful about mysteries wrapped in decorative paper and ribbon that doesn’t translate the same in life with words “time sensitive material” or “final notice.” The grab bag of life could mean anything from winning round trip tickets to a vacation spot of your dreams or booking a flight home because your loved one died suddenly and unexpectedly.

Though I adopt and minister in a positive, practical, and progressive faith tradition, I am not blind to the reality that life has its crummy moments because that is inevitably part of our experience. I do not speak and preach in pipe dreams because it is a disservice to the power given us by our Creator — call it God, the Universe, a higher power, energy, science, whatever name in a sea of hundreds suits your fancy. This power, however, doesn’t mean we have things figured out, rather it is the consistent our compasses point toward in all things. Life is filled with reminders to refocus, as is true for my white stone, which makes more sense than it did 105 days ago. So what is STEADY for me?

STEADY…See That Everything’s Awakening Divinely for You.

Really now, even in this pandemic? Even when thousands are sick, suffering, and dying? Not being able to see my family or bury my loved ones?

See That Everything’s Awakening Divinely for You.

Even in continuous political discord, escalating tempers, and purposeful division?

See That Everything’s Awakening Divinely for You.

But in my job uncertainty and questionable income, restless children, and the skepticism of my own sanity?

See That Everything’s Awakening Divinely for You.

Seriously, what about my divorce? My bankruptcy? My son who has run away?

See That Everything’s Awakening Divinely for You.

But you don’t f*king understand! The mounting home and medical bills…the loss of my faith…the despair I feel…I AM STRUGGLING.

See That Everything’s Awakening Divinely for You.

Do you see your circumstance here? Maybe. Maybe not. While this affirmation currently elicits feelings of hopefulness and excitement, if I catch a glimpse of my STEADY stone in a stressful, challenging time I very well might spike it like a football in the end zone.

And if I were to find my peace and come back and look at those shattered pieces, I might just remember my feelings, while very real, don’t change the nature of Truth.

My heart is with you in the wakes of life, in sickness and health, in struggle and victory. I will not whitewash your experience, nor will I cease to remind you who and whose you are in all circumstances: beloved, resilient, capable, equipped, human and divine.

So, dear ones, I leave you with this question for consideration: in this chapter…year…day…moment of life, what is calling you to be steady?

Be still and know I am God. Be still and know I am. Be still and know. Be still. Be. Steady now.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to subscribe to Called to Courage to catch the latest posts. If you would like to make a donation in appreciation of my work you can do so through PayPal. Blessings!

2 comments on “What it Means to Be

  1. Linda Demaray says:

    You are so Deep! ❤


  2. Mary Bearden says:

    Hi, Jen! I’m so glad you didn’t forego your senses of humor and the profane. My white stones(from the last three years) are still confounding me on a regular basis. 💙


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