One of the books that I enjoyed this past year was Tell It Slant. The title comes from an Emily Dickinson poem:
Tell all the Truth but tell it slant -
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise...
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind.
This is a great summary of my year — the truth must dazzle gradually. Three lessons that stand out for me from 2022 are:
1. Slow down and let the truth dazzle gradually
I started a little book on January 1st last year, Praying with the Psalms. It has a verse, short reflection and prayer. At first I wanted a bit more but in time I looked forward to slowing down to the pace of the book and found it reminded me to slow down with other things as well. I have found that Emily Dickinson’s words are true - Truth must dazzle gradually. We need time to linger before things truly dazzle - before we understand. It takes time to live well.
2. Change can be a good thing.
As I slowed down my pace of life a bit I realized that I started to defer decisions. It is easier to keep barreling forward, then decisions seem to often make themselves . At least that’s how it was for me. As I slowed, my life’s choices became both more clear and more blurry. I noticed how much of what we do is the result of what we have done before — our habits. I learned the blessing of being intentional and of welcoming change. It can be a good thing to do things in a new or different way. Sometimes we need to change our habits and have the courage to make new choices.
3. We can see the light as we learn from and share life with others.
One way to reconsider our choices, our habits, and our pace of life is to share life with others. I was reminded again how important this is as I had the great blessing of being a part of a number of groups - a Bible Study, a book study, a prayer group. I learned so much from being in these groups and look forward to new opportunities to grow together in the new year.
Books that Dazzled
I tend to read books slowly and read more than one book at a time. These were the books that I found most noteworthy in 2022. You will notice there is only one novel mentioned. I recommend the audio version on Audible and caution that it does share the reality and horror of war. I found the story moving.
The rest of the books often found their way into my articles and without a doubt influenced my thinking and the way that I lived this past year. I suggest reading most of them slowly, the books by Willard and Peterson in particular. The Nouwen book and the Brandon book may be a great “quicker” read for the start of the new year. I hope that you’ll find the spark you need in one of these books.
Tell It Slant: A Conversation on the Language of Jesus in his Stories and Prayers, Eugene H. Peterson
Living In Christ’s Presence: Final Words on Heaven and the Kingdom of God, Dallas Willard
Prayer, O. Hallesby
Praying with the Psalms: A Year of Daily Prayers and Reflections on the Words of David, Eugene H. Peterson
The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction, Adam S. McHugh
Life Without Lack: Living in the Fullness of Psalm 23, Dallas Willard
Invitation to a Journey: A Road Map for Spiritual Formation, M. Robert Mulholland Jr.
Making All Things New: An Invitation to the Spiritual Life, Henri Nouwen
The Nightingale: A Novel, Kristin Hannah
The 7-Minute Productivity Solution: How to Manage Your Schedule, Overcome Distraction, and Achieve the Results You Want, John Brandon
Meditations to Dazzle
The days leading up and after Christmas were busy for me. Perhaps the same is true for you. In case you missed something, here is the collection of Advent Meditations in 2022. While I did not set out to do this, each included a Christmas Carol. Sometimes the best ideas take shape along the way. I hope the joy and truth of Advent and Christmas tide continue to dazzle you.
Articles to Dazzle
For those of you new to Seeing Fireflies, here were the Top 5 most popular articles according to the number of reads. They can all be found on the Blog Page of Seeing Fireflies.
What’s the Thing That is Influencing You Most , Family
Parenting and Milestones (0-18 and beyond), Family
The Thing That Helps you Face the Day and Move Beyond Where You Are, Spiritual Growth
Come What May, Look for Something Good, Inspiration
One of the Most Important Questions in Life, Personal Growth
In addition, people loved The Best of 2021, Inspiration
Your Turn to Shine
Before rushing ahead into the new year, I encourage you to consider what you learned this past year.
How did truth gradually dazzle for you?
What do you want to carry with you into the new year?
What do you need to leave behind?
The Seeing Fireflies article, The Gift of Letting Go (an Inspiration Article) may be something to consider. Or, Setting the Pace and Direction for You Life ( a Personal Growth Article)
And now we welcome the new year.
Full of things that have never been.
Rainer Maria Rilke