Word of the Year

It’s that time of the year to think about your Word of the Year. It can be as simple as choosing a few words that have meaning to you. Remind you to refocus. Stick to a goal. Help you be a better person. Write them down on pieces paper, stir in a hat and pick one. If it feels right, there’s your word! If not stir and repeat.

Sometimes a word finds you, like it did my sister. This comes to you from a blog I wrote several years ago.

Word of the Week–CONNECT
Posted in Word of the Week blog December, 2012

My sister was worried. Time was ticking and she did not have her 2013 word-for-the-year. I sent her the list of words I have, but her word was not there. She wrote back to me a few days later telling me this, and also that she did locate, finally her word. Connect.

imageI could only guess why she picked that word. It seemed perfectly obvious to me. But we all have our own personal connection if you will, to a word. It may not be inspirational. It may just be the kick in the pants you need. Or it may be the thing that reminds you of an important goal you set for the year. It doesn’t matter. It only matters to you.

While visiting my family over Christmas in Connecticut, I thoughtlessly said something to the effect of, “In light of the current events…”. My sister’s eyes got big, stopping me in mid-thought, glaring at me. I of course was referring to the current event of planning my wedding, which was not the current event in Connecticut. Newtown was like a stinging open wound you either touched with all your attention, or quietly kept a protective holding pattern for. The entire country could not help but feel a connection of the heart, as well as a gut wrenching connection. But in Connecticut, it was much more intense.

My sister is head of the human resources department for several Home Depot stores in Connecticut. Newtown being in her region. I did not know this until recently, but employees of Home Depot are known for wanting to help in any crisis. My sister’s job became holding the flood gates of “wanting to help,” holding back desires for starting massive teddy bear drives, an abundance of cards, and flowers. She did a good job. Because as the days progressed, what the town needed was boxes for all the outpouring gifts they received to be organized and distributed. Boxes they could do. They needed a stage constructed for a town vigil. Constructing they could do. They needed a house boarded up that normally their Fire Department would have managed. Done.

She gives high praise to the government and school officials of this small, quiet town. They handled the unspeakable with grace, with kindness, patience, and thoughtfulness. Better than she could do, she thought. I think not. I think she acted just as they did. I’m so proud of her.

Maybe that is why she chose connect. Because she was so connected to how to serve well. Maybe she found her word because she finally could see herself mirrored in the good people of Newtown. Her kindness. Her grace. Her patience. Her thoughtfulness. Her ability to serve when her heart is breaking. She probably doesn’t know that is her gift. Not all of us can do that as well as she can.

Her first job out of college was working at Macy’s as Christmas help. A Liberal Arts Major, she didn’t have a clue what she wanted to do for a career. She worked in the shoe department. She could put shoes back in their boxes so quickly. I, to this day will fiddle with shoes until they go in the box correctly. She had no idea that not everybody can see how the shoes fit. For some of us, it takes longer. My sister went on to bigger fittings–working in HR for Macy’s, getting promoted like crazy.

imageAt this point in our adult lives, we are very good at some things and we take those skills for granted. I think tragedies remind us to acknowledge our skills and feel gratitude for them. Take time to love ourselves for all the good we possess. Connect to our own heart. And then share it again.