Monday, 07 January 2013
By Tom Zuniga
I’m certain nobody — on the Internet especially — has wished you a happy new year yet. So let me be the first to wish such gleeful tidings upon you. Even though we’re now a week into this new year. Better late than never, right?
For faithful followers of my blog, y’all know I’ve not been blogging with as much regularity in recent months as the many months prior. My writing apathy has paralleled some spiritual apathy, which I discussed here last month.
Further faithful followers will also know I committed to this One Word 365 project in 2012. Forget resolutions. My single-word theme for the year was courageous, and what a courageous year indeed it was.
From an unforeseen baptism to an overwhelming summer at camp to an unpredictable move back to the west coast, it was a year filled with courageous moments — all testaments not to my own bravado, but to God and God alone. I’d not have experienced such a fulfilling year without His sustaining and enabling me all 365 of those days.
Wait. Was 2012 a leap year? Was One Word 365 actually One Word 366 this whole time??
Well, I’M PRETTY SURE 2013 is not a leap year, so it’s time for my second crack at One Word 365.
Toward the middle of December I began pondering my “one word” for 2013. It’s kinda hard to top courageous. How do you build upon that?
My soul was perplexed for a while, but I never panicked. Eventually, my one word found me. And I’m more excited — terrified — about this word than I ever was about courageous.
As I meditated upon the year ahead, I realized something: the courageous moments need to keep on coming, whether it’s my “official” one word or not. I can’t just have a courageous 2012 only to have a cowardly 2013.
From another summer youth job to teaching English in South Korea to self-publishing this eBook that I promise I’ve not forgotten about, 2013 is going to require bucket-loads of courage. More than 2012 ever required.
At the core of all that needed courage remains my identity: not who others think I am and not who I think I am. Not what others expect of me or what I even expect out of myself.
Introducing my One Word 365 for 2013:
While at camp last summer, I was granted an Indian name that has slowly taken over this blog and, so too, my life. In recent weeks, I’ve begun believing that Traveling Golden Trout was not just a silly little name spoken over me this summer. Begun believing that this “silly little name” was indeed a supernatural identity granted me by several unsuspecting Little Chiefs.
I’m not just a guy who drove 4,000 zig-zagging miles to eventually reach this North Carolinian camp. Not even a guy who’s called seven different physical locations “home” within just the last two years.
I am Traveling Golden Trout because this name encompasses my entire identity. My past and my present; my calling and my future.
I’ve long struggled with my self-image and self-worth. Youthful acne and introversion will put you a few yards behind the rest of the world. It’s only been since moving out at 23 and stepping into a new life in California (via two life-changing summers in Milwaukee and North Carolina) that I’ve slowly begun untangling the complicating web of my identity.
Even recently, I’ve obsessively pursued meaningless measures to achieve validity for my identity:
- I need at least ____ friends.
- I need to hang out with ____ friends every week.
- I need to make at least $____ per month.
- I need at least ____ blog followers.
- I need at least ____ Twitter followers.
- I need a literary agent and a publishing house to sign me.
- I need a girlfriend.
- I need a wife.
- I need kids. Four.
- I need a frikin home on this planet.
It’s the last one that stings the most: this inconceivable notion of home. And yet that’s where my One Word 365 infuses unthinkable purpose into long assumed heartache.
Over the last quarter-century, I’ve literally scoured the country looking for sweet impossible home. But perhaps my perspective, despite my well-meaning intentions, has been completely wrong.
What if my earthly “home” is not restricted to a single place? What if “home” represents something far more significant for me?
What if everything I’ve endured to this very moment has been to prepare me for a future of travels? Wandering ventures that carry me far beyond purple mountain majesty and amber waves of grain? A roaming future not meant as a depressing letdown, but an incredible triumph?
What if Traveling Golden Trout needs to be set loose from this algae-ridden pond?
From South Korea to trips that span the entire globe, my life could very well be taking a drastic turn this year. If God indeed decides to uproot me from this three-year home and fly me to Korea, then so be it. I don’t wanna play Jonah and run from my calling.
I’ll admit being terribly frightened of the cost: intimidation, isolation. But who’s in charge of my life, my story? Me? What if Someone far greater has something far more meaningful in store? Greater than anything I could ever pen myself?
Whatever and wherever God calls me in 2013, I want to courageously step into that identity. An identity I eventually see as less my own and further more my Maker’s.
Did you participate in One Word 365/366 last year? How did your word ultimately shape your year? Do you have a “One Word 365″ for 2013? STORY TIME!