Ingrid Goff Maidoff - Tending Joy

Celebrating Poetry, Beauty,
& the Sacred Essence of Joy

my word for the year… chose me

Lucy Vincent at Dawn

I enjoy the popular practice of choosing a word for the year to help focus intention and awareness.  I love words, so many words.  I delight in opening them up, living with, and exploring within them.  But this year’s word?  My spirit says “Yes!” My ego says, “OY!”   And as if this were a game of scabble, I keep trading my chips in for new ones.  But when I become still and ask for a word, this is the word which comes…  It’s a loaded word and a very private word.  It’s a word I often leave unsaid between the lines.   My husband the historian is very cautious of this word, and I deeply respect his feelings.  My Unitarian Universalist friends call this the “G word,”  and I’ve watched it shut people right down.  In many ways, I’ve spent my life seeking substitutes for this word- ways to describe that sweet and indescribable awareness of Life’s Divine Presence- without triggering old concepts, grievances or philisophical misunderstanding.   In any case, it is the word inviting me into itself- the word which seems to contain every other word.  And so, I give myself to it. I offer my days to its company.  And I wonder what the year will bring- in acceptance, in adventure, in friendship, and in growth?



This year I choose God –
a word which baffles and worries
even my closest friends;
a word so vast to contain
all other possible words;
and a word which chose me once,
but I hadn’t the will to receive it.

Instead, one year I decided
my word to explore would be Joy,
and then I found that joy is how
God lives and loves inside me.
Another year I chose Grace,
which unfolded the revelation
that grace is a beautiful word
for the way that God loves and lifts and holds us.

And Love, I’ve learned the long way, is another word for God…

Divine Spaciousness, Fullness, Oneness ~
I delight in this exploration –
yet how I’ve tiptoed, dancing around
the central fact within each of these words.

I’ve chosen Essence, Bliss, Forgiveness,
Compassion, Wonder and Spirit…
Beloved, Friendship, Sacred,
Beauty, Service & Soul –
and each year found that these are
among God’s sweetest, most favored disguises.

And then, in a time of unravelling,
searing darkness, grief and pain,
the most nourishing word was still God.

So this year, with shy surrender,
I offer my life and my being
to this word which blossoms inside me –
though I know not how or why;
a word which chose me once long ago,
that I accept now and also choose.

~Ingrid Goff-Maidoff


Posted in Poetry |

One Response

  1. Lori Stone says:

    This is so interesting, because that is a word I’ve been avoiding too — and I wonder why.

    I think it is because it carries so much excess baggage with it. And it is getting such a bad rap in recent years. But somehow replacing it with The Universe or Spirit doesn’t convey the same degree of both immensity and intimacy that God does for me.

    And I want my relationship with God to be both.

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