I am starting 2022 with a clean dining table. 

clean dining table

Before the clutter returns

Note: in a few hours this will be a mess again. The dining room table is both our work spaces. But for now, it is tidy, and I read a little “devotion” about gratitude even — especially when life presses in.

Peering down the relative emptiness of the table reminds me of skimming the empty spaces in my new journal. We can’t know what is coming — but like this cleared space which we will quickly fill up — our times will fill up with old and new piles of stuff — to be sorted, treasured or discarded.

This time last year, January 1, 2021, could you have anticipated what even the first week of the first month brought us? How quickly January 6th filled 2021’s “table!”

Who knew that what I thought was a grand resolution on 1/1/21  would splash into 2022’s resolutions?

The trick has been to stay teachable, because I am seasoned citizen. And we know a lot! But 2020 taught me, no, I don’t know so much. So did painting!

Stay Teachable in 2022 too! 

Beginning the third year of a pandemic, life surely presses in. Lessons are hard.

The hospitals are at capacity; over 14,000 cases, and perhaps as many as 55 deaths in Maryland. The pressure is not without hope; apparently the numbers of infections are peaking in South Africa — one of the first places the Omicron variant  appeared. 

Compounding the pressures, though, is the continuing resistance of so many to take simple health steps to slow the spread, in the church.  (Should Christians Wear Masks in a Pandemic?)

And that resistance clutters up my brain and heart as fast as books and papers will clutter up our dining room table.  

Let Go . . . 

Maybe ten years from now we will have a better grasp on what we have done right in combatting this disease — and what we could have done better. 

I wonder if my conviction to mask and distance, over and above hand washing, will have proven helpful? 

As I resorted and stashed the dining table’s clutter this morning  a question came:

Whose well-being do I have in mind when I make decisions about masking? 

Maybe that should be a question worth asking again and again in the coming days before I write or speak — or paint:

Whose well-being do I have in mind? 

Looking back to  January 1, 2017,  Plunging into A New Year, I gave myself some good advice which will improve my thoughts, speech and painting:

Resolutions: Instead of making a list of negative resolutions . . . why not begin the New Year by resolving to follow three lowly practices  [fore] . . . 

Even in the most commonplace doings and experiences, it is possible for a man to “ put on Christ.” Edward Leen

 And as if underscore the blessing of doing simple chores, a beautiful red cardinal stopped by the feeder outside our window . . .  

clean dining table



i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes…
~E.E. Cummings (1894–1962)

Note: My end of the clean dining table is filling up.

clean dining table

from the Garden of Bright Images


“For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand,
Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’”(Isaiah 41:13)

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