By Emily Dickinson 1830–1886
I dwell in Possibility –
A fairer House than Prose –
More numerous of Windows –
Superior – for Doors –
Of Chambers as the Cedars –
Impregnable of eye –
And for an everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky –
Of Visitors – the fairest –
For Occupation – This –
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise –
The possibilities of a new year are exciting! They can also be daunting, I suppose. But it is this spirit of possibility that inspire resolutions – promises of how this year will be different, better, more. I am not immune to this spirit, nor would I want to be. I’ve even come up with a little list of goals I’d like to work toward this year; things I’d like to do.
- Take at least one picture a week and write about it.
- Bake more.
- Take more walks.
- Have afternoon tea/reading time with the kids more often.
- Start a family vegetable garden.
- Make a card a week.
- Make myself a new dress for Pascha (or maybe Pentecost)
- Finish that unfinished quilt in my sewing room!
- Knit a pair of socks.
- Finally shred the numerous bags of junk mail in the garage.
- Make and keep to a budget.
For that – even to begin to think of dwelling in Possibility – I must abandon that which limits me. Too often I limit what may be – for me, my marriage, my children, my friends, my work – with excuses: that’s just how I am, what I know, how I was raised, what I’ve always done, how it’s always been. But, as I was reminded in Confession recently, only God knows who I truly am; who I can fully be; the Possible me.
The only true resolution I can make then is to attempt daily, hourly, moment to moment to dwell in Possibility – to gaze through the numerous Windows offered to me; to walk through Doors, superior of opportunity; to find refuge within the impregnable and everlasting House that his His church; to welcome all fair Visitors as guests sent to teach me; to have all this as my Occupation; to dwell in His Possibility. Maybe then I can begin to crawl my way toward that better me; not a skinnier, more in-shape, more organized, better rested, richer me. But the someone who God means for me to be … I don’t even know who that is.
Daunting. Intimidating. Terrifying. Because I know I will fail; again and again, I will fall on my face. And I will have to get up and try again. I will speak when I should be quiet; I will be quiet when I should speak; I will be hard when I should be soft; I will allow myself to become anxious and preoccupied and lost in the details. It would be so much easier to stick to my little list of prosaic goals and hide behind the walls of what I’ve always been.
However, Possibility, as Emily describes it (forgive me, she will always be Emily to me; not Miss Dickinson or E. Dickinson, or Aunt Emily, but a fellow Emily), is not a terrifying place to dwell. Her tone is joyful, expectant, triumphant. To dwell there is to wake with anticipation of the day, not with dread; to welcome each task as an opportunity, not a trial; to be grateful for the chance to get up and try again and again, not to be anxious. Possibility is joy – a gift from God; itself a way of seeing and feeling His love for us. For with Him all things are Possible.