A (voice memo) Blessing For A New Year
and part 2 of your favorite posts of 2021
A blessing for the new year:
As you enter this new year, as you pack away the Christmas decorations and get out your stretchy pants
as you face the onslaught of false promises offered you through new disciplines and elimination diets
as you grasp for control of yourself and your life and this chaotic world
May you remember that there is no resolution that, if kept, will make you more worthy of love.
There is no resolution that, if kept, will make life less uncertain and allow you to control a pandemic and your children and the way other people act.
So this year,
May you just skip the part where you resolve to be better do better and look better this time.
May you give yourself the gift of really, really low expectations.
May you expect so little of yourself that you can be super proud of the smallest of accomplishments.
May you expect so little of the people in your life that you actually notice and cherish every small lovely thing about them.
May you expect so little of the supply chain and the service industry that you notice more of what you do get and less of what you don't and then just tip really well anyhow.
May you expect to get so little out of 2022 that you can celebrate every single thing it offers you, however small.
Because you deserve joy and not disappointment
So, I wish you a Happy as possible New Year.
The Corners by Nadia Bolz-Weber is a reader-supported publication.
Below is a digest of the posts you shared, liked and commented on the most the last 6 months of 2021 in case you missed or want to re-visit them.
And again, THANK YOU!
On Beheadings and Birthday Parties
A sermon on Herod, John the Baptist, and the shit we just don't need.
July 12th, 2021
. . . I know that losing face can hurt,
it just can’t hurt what matters.
Because out of a sacred regard for you – God has placed within you that which cannot be harmed, cannot be rejected, cannot be demoted. And as citizens of the Kingdom of God, as those who are also send by Jesus as healers – sent by the Holy One of God to cast out the demons of oppression and exploitation and loneliness - in the end there really is nothing for us to protect or defend. There is no ranking system to maintain, there’s no outside approval to clamor for.
And there’s another term for that you know – it’s called freedom.
July Questions and Opinions
a monthly feature for subscribers
(each month, I spend a day asking and responding to questions)
July 22nd, 2021
My question: Who, in your own life, has taught you the most about forgiveness?
Your answer: My kids. They have such beautiful hearts. But perhaps most kids have something to teach us. They get mad, they forgive and they go off and play together again. Why can’t I do that as easily? I mean why can’t I look at my spouse after an argument and say “sorry and do you want half of my sandwich and do you want to go play?”
My response: OMG that should totally be our response. I love this.
My question: Who, in your own life, has taught you the most about forgiveness?
Your answer: In my alcoholism, I harmed many people and at the end took out my rage on someone who was totally innocent, someone who did not even know me, a random victim. As a result, I became a convicted violent felon. But I also got sober and attempted to live a life as suggested in the program I joined. This individual testified against me at my sentencing hearing, as well she should have. And a year later testified during the hearing when I was disbarred as a lawyer. However, on the 10th anniversary of my sobriety, I sat across a table from her and we discussed many things, including our relationships with a power greater than ourselves. On that day, she forgave me for all I had done to her and later testified on my behalf when I sought and received back my license to practice law. God forgives and calls us to do likewise. I experienced the soul freeing that comes with forgiveness by another human being. That was almost 20 years ago and yet her forgiveness has remained with me all that time.
The Most Shared Post of the Year (by FAR!):
If you can't take in anymore, there's a reason
an essay on circuit breakers, empty buckets, and the shame-show of social media
Aug 17th, 2021
…friends, I just do not think our psyches were developed to hold, feel and respond to everything coming at them right now; every tragedy, injustice, sorrow and natural disaster happening to every human across the entire planet, in real time every minute of every day. The human heart and spirit were developed to be able to hold, feel and respond to any tragedy, injustice, sorrow or natural disaster that was happening IN OUR VILLAGE.
So my emotional circuit breaker keeps overloading because the hardware was built for an older time. . .
. . . I’m not saying we should put our heads in the sand, I’m saying that if your circuits are overwhelmed there’s a reason and the reason isn’t because you are heartless, it’s because there is not a human heart on this planet that can bear all of what is happening right now.
Meditation for judgmental bastards like me.
An essay for subscribers
. . . I don’t know about you, but I am exhausted by my own thinking - how I am always taking in what is happening and processing it through some fucked up criticism calculator to determine how far whatever is happening is from what it SHOULD be.
But then I think about how Jesus said “consider the lilies of the field” not “critique the lilies of the field”.
Those lilies could be straighter. Whose field are those lilies in and why don’t they care enough to keep it weeded? I prefer yellow lilies and these are white. If Jesus really cared about me he would know that I am allergic to lilies.
Maybe in this next phase of life, I can manage to “see everything, judge little and forgive much” as Richard Rohr says instead of “see only what I want to, judge everything, forgive nothing”, because living in a constant place of distain for how far the distance is between how things are and how I think they “SHOULD” be is not good for my skin. Or my relationships. Or my heart.
September 12th, 2021
As someone who is grieving - as so many of you are - I realize how the death of a loved one can cause us to sideline all the shit we usually focus on but that doesn’t really matter in any spiritually meaningful way - things like petty resentments, snotty opinions, making sure our preferences are always met, vanity, grudges etc. I sometimes wonder if Mary and “the disciple whom Jesus loved” had any resentment between them. And I wonder if, in the moment of Jesus’ death, those resentments melted away in the heat of their shared grief and then disappeared forever when Jesus said, “here is your mother, here is your son”. Grief is a monster. But it is a monster that gives us to one another.
Each year on 9-11 I commemorate the sorrow of that day 20 years ago by listening to this recording of Rabbi Irwin Kula chanting the messages left for loved ones by those who were in the Twin Towers.
As always, hold your loved ones close. - Nadia
“Girl, you gotta just submit and let people bless you.”
an essay on old ladies and new stories
September 15th, 2021
For most of my life, when asked how I am, I would answer by referencing the last shitty thing that happened to me. But after a lifetime of seeing the glass as half fuck-you I wish now that I could tie these kinds of moments together with ribbon and don them in my greying hair. I want to make a wreath of them, a potpourri of blessings to make myself more beautiful. Because, readers, I so often have done the opposite. I so often have mined my memories for ore to fuel a coal fire of hurt.
Maybe as we grow older we get to tell different stories about our lives than the ones we have worn smooth by repetition.
A list of books, websites, movies and storytelling I am loving:
an occasional feature for subscribers
October 2nd, 2021
A Story I love:
My friend and fellow Moth Storyteller, Jon Goode just killed me with this one: (also, his instagram is amazing.)
May Their Memory Be For Blessing
an essay on grief
November 30th, 2021
. . . I’ve been known to say that when someone dies or we experience a loss, we don’t get to control the guest list. Grief sticks their foot in the door and the bastard waves all his friends in. So often when I find myself crying about something, I am suddenly also crying about something else.
. . . Maybe for the memory of our dead to be a blessing, we must fully allow the sorrow to metabolize into forgiveness for ourselves and others. Because life is too beautiful not to. So, may even the memory of who we were in the past be for blessing.
Thanksgiving and belongingness
an essay for subscribers
Jesus said to Pilate that his kingdom is not of this world. It’s not that he is King of some heavenly realm in the afterlife. Like a big decadent post-death dessert buffet waiting for all those who have endured the suffering of good Christian diet foods their whole life. Being citizens of the Kingdom of God means belonging to a truth. It allows us to construct identity for ourselves and for the whole world based on something other than practical concerns and families of origin and political categories.
Your belongingness to the truth is determined by the voice of the Christ who calls you by name. And nothing else actually gets to tell you who you are.
People Are All We’ve Got
an essay on Advent, Fleabag and Aloneness for subscribers
December 12th, 2021
Fleabag (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) has a 5 minute conversation with Belinda (played brilliantly by Kristin Scott Thomas) in which the older woman speaks transcendently about, of all things, menopause, and the freedom it brings; but you do get flirted with less…”It’s not a party until someone flirts with you… There’s nothing more exciting than a roomful of people”
“But,” fleabag responds. “People are…shit”
“Look at me, listen…people are all we’ve got.”
And the soul felt its ____
The Annunciation and tattoo cover-ups
Dec 18th, 2021
I think that this is exactly what Mary understood: That what qualifies us for God’s grace isn’t our goodness – what qualifies us for God’s grace is nothing more than our need for God’s grace.
I hope so. Because I just can’t manage to muster up a yes to what seemed like God’s conditional maybe toward me.
But God’s yes about me, for me, and toward me? That different.
That’s a useful miracle.
So, I won’t say that I hope this season is merry. I won’t say that I hope it is happy and bright. But I will say this: I hope you hear a divine “yes.” this season.
In other words, may your soul feel its worth.
The Corners by Nadia Bolz-Weber is a reader-supported publication. If you’d like to support my work and get access to exclusive content consider becoming a member. If a paid subscription isn’t for you just email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will hook you up for free!