I chose two words for 2018: dwell and savor. I couldn’t just pick one (and who says I have to?). Individually they describe a feeling that matters to me; together, they describe a life.
- To live as a resident; reside.
- To exist in a given place or state: dwell in joy.
- To taste or smell, especially with pleasure: savored each morsel of the feast.
- To appreciate fully; enjoy or relish: I want to savor this moment of accomplishment.
I cannot fully express the thoughts, emotions, and little stirrings that I am feeling about 2018. I can tell you, however, that my focus has been turned towards my home.
This past summer, my family and I chose to attend family camp as our vacation. During that week, I was introduced to a Hebrew saying (it was actually a song) that went: How good and pleasant it is for people to dwell together.
I haven’t been able to shake that phrase since I heard it. How good. How pleasant. People. Dwell. Together.
This past year, my heart has been continuously turned towards my home. My physical home. I am an extrovert who loves experiences and to be around people. So turning my focus towards home doesn’t mean I’m attempting to be someone I’m not, it simply means I’m pouring the very best of me into a specific vessel. I long to live and dwell with others in a good and pleasant way, and I want our home to be at the heart of that dwelling.
But as I was thinking about my word for 2018, “dwell” on it’s own just wasn’t enough. Because it’s not enough to just occupy the same space. I don’t want to just exist in the same place as others, I want savor my experiences with them.
I love the word savor. I love it’s foodie connotation. To savor means to slow down. To fully experience. To enter into something with all your senses alive and firing. To carry the goodness of an experience from one moment into the next.
I want to savor life. I want to savor my time with others. I want to savor the burst of flavors from a delicious meal. I want to savor the laughter that fills a space after the dinner dishes have been cleared and the last of the wine poured out. I want to savor moments that are rich with meaning simply by their existence. I want to savor seasons and stages. I want to savor little things that, I know, will one day be remembered as the big things. I want to savor moments that are fleeting and impressions that will last a life time. I want to savor thoughts and ideas, words and music. I want to savor relationships and the little things that make each person I know so special and unique. I want to savor food – oh, how I want to savor food. I fundamentally believe that food is NOT just fuel. Food is a gift and one of the most universal ways to express compassion, connection, and care. I want to savor food in a way that reminds me of all the ways I want to savor life. I want it to remind me that it’s all – the food, the family, the friends, the life – an indescribable gift.
This is not something to be passed through thoughtlessly and at lightening speed. There is no great race to the end. There is only this moment, this time, this space, these people, to dwell together in a good and pleasant way and savor every minute – every morsel! – of it all.
All of this, the dwelling and the savoring, I’m starting to realize, comes from a narrowing of my focus. You’ve heard of the expression, “A mile wide and an inch deep”? I don’t want a life that covers so much ground that I’m not able to grow anything of substance. I don’t want to spread myself or my time or my experiences thin. I want them to be full and rich with roots that grow deep because I’ve stayed focused on growing that specific thing.
So I’m narrowing my focus a bit this year. I’m seeing life through the lens of dwelling and savoring. I’m not asking myself how I’m going to do this, I’m simply asking that my eyes be opened to opportunities to say yes to the dwelling and the savoring. Often times we get so caught up on the “how” and “the plan” that we forget to simply look. I’m not chasing anything this year. I’m not planning based on preconceived notions about what this will look like. I’ve come to realize that I’ve wasted a lot of time with the somewhat arrogant thought that I know exactly what I want. I don’t. You don’t. I have hints and inclinations, and I’m ready to embrace the opportunities that life brings my way, rather than make my naive demands upon life.
Right here, right now, I choose to embrace the dwelling and the savoring. And I trust that as I narrow my focus on these two, relatively simple ideas, that my life will expand with understanding and be enriched with meaning, not because I demanded it – but because I started looking for it.