One Little Word: CHERISH

One lovely thing about a January birthday is that the rest of the world begins a new calendar year at the same time I start a new year of my life, and these two things happen shortly after the Church year has begun again. Everything refreshes. I guess you could say I'm very much wired for a hard re-set this time of year. 

I'm also very introspective. So, I've been eagerly anticipating a few hours to sit and think and put pen to paper and make some plans. Those hours happened today. In recent years, I've chosen one word as an organizing principle--an intention--for the year. Some years more than others, this one little word has given me focus. Last year, I chose the world LIGHT. A few weeks into the year, I chose a new word: REDEEMED. The year was a hard one and it didn't feel light at all, but when I whispered my new word to a very small handful of friends, they reminded me of it in dark moments. He redeemed. It was a quiet, powerful word. 

I have some friends with whom I love to make lists. Together, we goal set and we right the ship throughout the year--all via text message, mostly. As has become the custom, I asked my friends Kitty and Aimee for ideas as I pondered a word for this year.

I want a quiet word, a word that is more receptive than productive, more gracious than striving. I want a word that works for a woman who celebrates her 50th birthday with a sense of gratitude for the past, hope and joy for the future. 

Aimee suggested CHERISH.


transitive verb

  1. 1a :  to hold dear :  feel or show affection for <cherished her friends> b :  to keep or cultivate with care and affection :  nurture <cherishes his marriage>

  2. 2:  to entertain or harbor in the mind deeply and resolutely <still cherishes that memory>

cher·ish·able  adjective

cher·ish·er  noun

That works, doesn't it? 

I want to hold dear the treasures of this life. It's seems like such an obvious thing to treasure your husband and your children, your home, even your work. For me, though, there is something quiet and golden in the essence of cherishing. Something that says, "Slow down. See how far you've come together? See how good it is?" I need this year to be about noticing how good it is, without rushing in to make it better or right the wrongs. Be still and cherish.

When we were still kicking words around, Kitty offered CULTIVATE. I thought about it a bit and it is a good one. But CULTIVATE is already up there, already a part of CHERISH. So, I can kind of get a two-fer there. I will cultivate in the sense that I will keep with care and affection. That means that when I am tempted to be all about the business of getting things done and progressing efficiently, I'll stop and consider with care the circle that is my world and I will cultivate what is good there and nurture it. 

The second meaning, to harbor in my mind deeply, is one I am going to truly resolve to live every day. We don't generally associate a negative connotation to the word CHERISH. So, if I'm deeply holding a memory in the sense of cherishing it, it's a good memory and not a bad one. This year, there will be no revisiting the sins of the past (mine or anyone else's), even in an effort to make them better. I left them in the confessional on December 31st--every single one of them. And I made a promise to God and my pastor not to revisit them. I meant it. Instead, the memories I will let roam in my very overactive, introspective mind are the ones I cherish. And only those.

CHERISHABLE: Lots of people and even some things in my life are cherishable. I intend to regard them as such. In its adjective form, CHERISHABLE reminds me to take good care of myself because I am worth keeping with care and affection. This particular year? It's the Year of Mercy. First, I will extend mercy to myself. Then, I will nurture myself in the way I eat and exercise and sleep, and most of all, in the way that I speak to myself. I hope that this sense of holding dear, when practiced from my core towards myself, will naturally extend to those around me. 

Finally, there is CHERISHER. In much the way that EUCHARISTEO made me aware of all the things for which to be grateful, I think that CHERISH will help me notice all that is mine to hold hear. That is the goal then, for 2016: to become a CHERISHER.

What is your one little word?

{{The book in the photo? Searching for and Maintaining Peace. Highly recommended as the first read of the new year.}}