My word for 2021

Photo by Nick Page on Unsplash

I struggled with choosing a word for this year. Just one? There’s so much happening, so much longing, so much need! By the time January 1 rolled around and I met with my sisters, Tina and Malinda, to talk about our words, I was still torn between three.

But the word I’ve kept circling back to is “Grounded.” 2020 knocked me around. I want to stand this year with two feet on the ground, knees slightly bent. I want to feel the earth supporting me; to know the firm and gentle force of gravity. I want to be steady.

I want to be grounded in reality. Learning like mad. As fast as this turbulent world throws new stuff at us, I will feel, read, think, write, talk, seek to understand. I will pursue the truth, complicated as it may be.

Literally grounded as we are in our precious and vulnerable bodies, I will do all I can to protect my health and yours — our very breath being our life support and also a danger to one another until we get vaccinated or learn how to prevent the bodily damage that this coronavirus inflicts. I agree with David von Drehle, who wrote in the Washington Post on the last day of 2020 that “Covid-19 won’t be entirely eradicated in 2021, but the tables will turn.”

I want to be grounded in the present. Now, and now, and now. I want to respond to this moment; to say “yes” to the challenge put by Mary Oliver in her poem, Mornings at Blackwater:

“What I want to say is 

that the past is the past, 

and the present is what your life is,

And you are capable of choosing what that will be,

darling citizen.”

I commit to find the common ground — the ground we share — and to deliberately give space and voice to those who are being diminished or oppressed. It will not be my feet alone on this ground, but many feet together walking, marching, working.

I commit to the holy ground of this earth in crisis. We have our lifetimes to save what we can from extinction, from extreme climate events, from our planetary fever.

I want to be rooted and grounded in love, and, as Paul describes it, to experience the power that is at work within us, able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:17-21). I will be grounded in love as gift, intention and action. Truly, it is the only way forward.

Rebecca Stoltzfus

P.S. Curious about my 2020 and 2019 words? You can read those posts here: