ruminate: to go over in the mind repeatedly and often casually or slowly
Way back around the first of the year I came across several blogs where people had posted about their "one word" --- a word they had selected as sort of focus for the year ahead. Words like "grow" or "hope" or "embrace" showed up often. I thought the whole concept sounded like a neat idea, but I just couldn't settle on a word. Having just recently lost my sister and experiencing somewhat of a health crisis myself, I wanted nothing more than to pick the word "hibernate". The thought of growing, hoping or embracing seemed like far more than I was capable of. I thought I'd try doing it sometime, but maybe not at this point in my life. Eventually, however, the word "ruminate" revealed itself to me and it has unofficially become my touchstone for 2011.
Now halfway through the year, I can say I have done my far share of ruminating these past six and a half months. I have thought and thought until my thinker was sore. What have I thought about you might ask? Well, let me enlighten you ...
I've thought about life and death.
The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.
Losing someone close to me has had a significant impact on how I think about the uncertainty of life. It has driven home how fragile life really is and the inevitability of death in a way I never experienced prior to this. We only have so many trips around the sun and it's never a given that tomorrow will be ours to explore.
I've thought long and hard about my faith.
Faith enables persons to be persons because it lets God be God.
I've given more thought about what I believe and why my faith is important to me. I've thought about what I can do to strengthen my faith and make it even more of a priority in my life. And I've thought about the importance of sharing my faith with others so that they too may be drawn closer to God.
And most recently I've been thinking about change.
Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights.
Pauline R. Kezer
My sister's death caused me to reevaluate where I am in my life and where I'm going versus where I'd like to be. It has really pushed me to seriously think about making significant changes in my day to day living in order to move ahead. Essentially revisiting that age old question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" or at the very least "What do you want to try next?"
It is generally accepted that one should not make any major life changes while one is going through the acute stages of grief. There's a lot of sense to that. Your mind is muddled, you're adrift and you really are incapable of making a sane decision. But now over a half of a year out from my loss, the fog is lifting and my head is starting to clear. I can begin to seriously think ... ruminate if you will ... about what my next chapter will be.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream.
I know life never goes according to plan. I have become a master at "winging it", but I am becoming acutely aware of the fact that I am not getting any younger and a "game plan' of sorts might not be such a bad idea. A sort of road map to help me get from here to where I want to be. If there's one thing all this ruminating has taught me, it's that it's time for this Mama Hen to do something. I haven't quite figured it out what "it" is yet, but that's okay ... I'm on my way :)
Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
Martin Luther King, Jr.