Happy New Year!
New Year’s Eve is my favorite holiday! As a young girl, my family would travel to my grandparent’s house for the festive evening. The night would begin with my grandmother holding court at the head of the table in the formal dining room and my quiet grandfather on the opposite end. I would have on my very best dress, use my impeccable table manners and listen in on the worldly conversations taking place. I thought it all very thrilling and sophisticated! My grandmother would ring a small bell and Mildred would whisk in to clear the plates and bring the next course. Then we would gather in the long elegant living room. The interesting conversation would continue as the champagne flutes were being filled in anticipation of the ball that would drop in Times Square; while we counted down the seconds that would flash before us on the television. There I would excitedly make my New Year resolutions. Many years later, long after my grandparents had passed and their New Year’s Eve parties ceased, it was only fitting that on my still favorite holiday my eldest son would be born, right at midnight just 15 seconds after the clock struck. It was such a joyous and festive time and every year it feels that way as we ring in this very special birthday.
As I welcomed 2023 I thought not about New Year resolutions but rather what is my purpose? What does God intend for me to accomplish during my time on earth? What does He want to create through me and what does He want to co-create with me? What experiences are left to be had? Coincidentally, my youngest son was asking himself these same questions at the same time. While 36 years apart, we both were asking the same age-old questions! I believe our big overarching purpose is divine and contributes to changing the world in big or small ways through our unique gifts, and that it unfolds over our lifetime. Equally important though is the day when our purpose is simply to get out of bed, empty the dishwasher and get kids to school, only to wake up and do it all over again. In those instances, our purpose can change every single day. Today’s purpose could simply be to get my house in order and go to the gym, period. However big or small, I do believe man fulfills his purpose with ease when he allows God to flow through him so completely that he acknowledges he is simply the vehicle.
In the book of Hebrews 12:1, the author, widely believed to be St. Paul says, “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” What race am I running? Answer: the race marked out for us. I take that to mean my race, not my neighbors, not my family’s, but my own very specific race. What does the race look like? Quite suddenly the answer became very clear to me. The race is the one that makes me happy and fulfills my purpose. Intrinsically, we know what makes us happy but we don’t always do it. We get conditioned by society, we feel guilty, we deny our feelings, we make excuses and even play the victim. When that happens the race becomes very hard. It’s no longer fun. It takes a toll. Paul reminds us we must run the race with perseverance. We must stay true to ourselves and our divine purpose regardless of outside influences trying to knock us off course. Perseverance is the key, vigilance is its aid.
The first time I came across the word perseverance I was quite young, around 2nd or 3rd grade. I was asked to do a reading in front of my entire elementary school. I practiced every night for weeks with my mother and every night I stumbled over the pronunciation of the word perseverance. Eventually, my mother broke it down phonetically as well as drawing a picture of a purse to represent the “pers” part of the word which I kept stumbling over. I often wonder if that was a sign from God nudging me to get a grasp on that word at an early age. Like, hey Ailsa this may be a big part of your journey, learning the word, understanding the word, living the word. I couldn’t have possibly understood back then the large role perseverance would play in dealing with heartbreak, death, finances, relationships, raising children, reparenting myself, and many other things I faced along my journey. Yet, all the while, I had Paul’s advice: “to run the race with perseverance” playing in a loop in the background, like a spectator on the sidelines cheering on a marathon runner. Perseverance is a tool that can get us through some of the more challenging or confusing times and lead us to the light. We must be vigilant though; we must be true to our own race, don’t look to the left, don’t look to the right instead look to your heart.
I wish each one of you all the best in running your race no matter what it looks like and persevere in running it so that you may live your truth and express your purpose which in turn brings about a peace that surpasses all understanding.
With love and deep appreciation,
“Do not allow your fire to go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not at all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists. It is real. It is possible. It is yours.” -Ayn Rand