Word for the Year – A Trip Back to VISTA

If you were to choose a word of the year to live by, remain rooted in, would “PATIENCE” ever come to mind? Me neither! But this is how this true story unfolds….

My husband, Ken, and I travel every year back to the Vista Farmer’s Market (VFM) in California. (see other blogs: Back and Forth to Vista) This year was not exception. So, we arrive at the VFM and per our usual Em-O, Ken bee lines to the breakfast tamale booth as I continue to seek Joy – that would be my dear friend Joy Blessman and her booth filled with INTENTIONS. For the past 7 years I have returned to Vista to discover my guiding word for the year. I find the word or more like it the word finds me.Then I choose to live in it, by it and sometimes through it for the entire year. The word serves as an area of growth in my life and my faith.

This year, unlike past years, I arrived with a preconceived notion of what my next word of focus would be. I was sort of getting fired up about what I was sure would be my new word. Although, since it is important to me to surrender to what God’s plan might be for me, I said a prayer before we headed to the market. My prayer went like this, “God, please just make it clear what my word should be. Otherwise, I’VE got a plan. You know me, God, the sign has to be clear so I can be sure.”

So, when I arrived at Joy’s booth and laid eyes on my friend she greeted me with her smiling eyes and a new curvy, smaller frame. She shared her story about her new nutrition cleansing plan that clearly worked. Her size, her shining spirit, her glowing skin all revealed a cleansed new starting point. Somehow, Vista represents this for me each year. I yearn for this trip and these moments with JOY.

As our interlude continued to unfold my eyes began to search her booth for her famous INTENTIONS soaps and for my new word to treasure for the next 365 days. Concern entered my spirit. I did not see the soaps, only four INTENTIONS candles one of which was my anticipated word. Ok. Now all I need is the soap and I’m good. When I asked Joy about the soaps she said that a women earlier in the day had purchased almost all of her INTENTIONS SOAPS but she had this little row of them left. No matter really. I only needed one of them… right?

So, I begin to review the row of soaps, one soap hiding the next one. I looked at the first soap, it said “patience.” Well, no this is not it. The next one, “patience.” No way. The third one, yup, “patience.” The fourth, “triumphant” which was my word two years ago. The sixth and seventh soaps, “patience!” There were two more soaps, both said “joy.” As you can imagine, my heart was pounding. Not one WISDOM in the bunch! Maybe I’m supposed to switch to a candle this year. Who says the word has to be on a bar of soap?

Really, God? Patience? Ok, you may be asking me, why not joy? Great question! I thought that myself. Get this.

As I stewed in silent denial about the word that appeared 5 times out of 8 possibilities because someone else had bought all the others after asking God to make it really clear, I waited for the answer to change. I moved back toward the four candles. Remember, one of them had “MY” word – WISDOM – on it. I reached for wisdom. Meanwhile, my friend Joy had no idea what was going on inside of me as other customers were coming and going in her booth. Finally, as I reached for the wisdom candle I hooked the ribbon on the candle next to it. That candle fell into my hands. Joy quickly said, whatever that candle is that fell must be your word, Robin. It nearly jumped off the shelf at you. You are not going to believe this… YES! Dog gone it! It was the PATIENCE candle.

A brief moment after that happened, I remained in turmoil as more customers came and went. I picked up the “joy” soap telling myself that I could live with joy for the year. That would be just fine. It wasn’t wisdom but it trumped patience. Then a noticed a customer reaching toward the candles, as she was reaching her finger hooked a ribbon of one of the candles and it fell toward her. I repeated Joy’s advice – “that must be the one you are supposed to buy. It came right to you.” She looked at me, kept browsing and finally purchased the one that fell toward her. She said as she paid joy for her COURAGE candle, I do believe this was the one meant for me. REALLY. (Why couldn’t it have been the patience candle? She was ACTUALLY reaching for patience!) There was a complete stranger, hooking a candle just like I did. She accepted the message and moved on.

Joy looked at me. Robin, I can feel your angst from here. Why are you fighting patience so much? Girl, don’t you know the only way to it is through it? You may have all the wisdom you need for now to take the next steps in your dreams and God’s plan. Trust that. You just may need more patience to understand it all. She wrapped up that patience soap. We embraced. I left ready to tell my husband the unbelievable story.

He asked, “so what’s your new word of the year, Rob?” I said, “are you ready to hear this story?” His response, “it’s a whole story. Maybe later.” WOW. Already, I’m being tested in patience. No problem. I can wait.

While I thought I had grown so much in patience I guess there is more to learn. I’ve grown more patient with others, with the pace of the world, even more patient with myself, but I’m not so sure I’ve been patient in understanding how and when my dreams may be realized. People say that God’s timeline is different than ours. That’s a tough one. That means I’m not always the driver. I’m learning that I’ve got to depend on others and God to help me in this “dream plan.” That’s not easy for me. How about you?

Do you fight or embrace patience? Do you have a story of patience you can share in the comments? I’d LOVE to hear it! I’ve got all year…