It's the one power I really have. I don't have control. I can't dictate my circumstances or call the shots on what happens to me. But I can always determine how I will choose to respond.
That part is mine and mine alone.
My choice is always entirely up to me.
It doesn't depend on my situation or those around me. It isn't dictated by what's going on in my world or in my heart. My power to choose rests solely on my shoulders.
Sometimes I forget that. Sometimes I despise it. And sometimes I cling to it like the life preserver that it is — mindful enough to lift my eyes, take a deep breath, and choose.
There were times this year that I chose joy. Patience. A soft word. I chose to trust when my heart didn't want to. To give grace when it hurt to. To extend grace to myself when I felt I didn't deserve it.
I chose to keep breathing, keep walking, keep loving, keep believing.
I chose to engage when I felt like withdrawing, and I chose to walk away when that was the healthiest course. I chose to love loudly even after I've been hurt. To lean in when I felt like retreating.
I chose to celebrate with others their victories, and grieve with them their heartaches.
I chose to use my words, written and spoken. I chose to hold and give and serve. To engage and work and create. To see and to make feel seen.
I chose to not give up, to turn the other cheek, to stand up for myself. I chose to seek out His divine fingerprints even in darkness and pain.
There were also countless occasions I let slip by without willfully choosing anything. And I discovered that my un-choosing was a choice all in itself.
So while I haven't always gotten it right, I'm grateful for this year of intentionally remembering to choose.
I'm thankful for the new habit of being mindful of my response, inward and outward. And while I move into a new year with a new One Word, my commitment to choose goes with me — along with my diligence to look and to risk.
Glancing in the rearview mirror, I don't like everything I see. But ultimately I see growth. Progress. Change. And that makes me choose to smile and whisper, "Thank You."