A few weeks ago at the end of another fabulous Zumba class my instructor introduced a new cool-down song. The choreography of the stretching was new to me, but the song is one I have loved for years. It caught me completely off-guard to go from our thumping latin and club music to this song, but I admit to being more than a little excited when the first notes of “Seasons of Love” from the Broadway musical Rent starting playing over the speakers.
I’ve loved Zumba for a while now, but I’ve loved Broadway musicals for a lot longer. In fact, I think one of the reasons I love being at camp so much is that it’s the closest thing to a real live musical that I’ll ever be a part of: we break into song and dance spontaneously at any time. Rent has been a particular favorite of mine since it first started on Broadway when I was in high school, and this incredibly beautiful song was one of the first I heard and loved.
525,600 minutes. That’s how many we have in a year. The song asks us to consider how we measure our lives, and makes the final plea:
Measure your life in love.
My instructor hasn’t picked this particular cool-down that many times since she introduced it, but I sure love it when she plays it. I can barely do the stretches I’m so busy singing (and the music plays so loud that I can belt it out without anyone hearing me – it’s the BEST!). It’s a great way to end class because I’m all happy and tired from a great hour of dancing, and then I get this surprise spiritual bonus at the end – a song that just warms my heart.
The other day she played it and I found myself particularly overwhelmed with gratitude. Probbaly because we are approaching the end of the year, and it’s impossible not to reflect just a little on what the last year has held for me. So while I was listening to the song, and the compelling request to measure our lives in love – well, I couldn’t help but think I’m sure measuring up pretty good this year.
It’s interesting, really. As far as the “real world” goes, I’m not sure 2012 was a banner year for me. My husband and I moved in with my mom, where we lived for the entirety of the year. Each of us worked part-time if at all over the past 12 months. Jonathan had no insurance. We had old, junky cars. When all my clergy colleagues were “advancing” to rector positions, I stepped out of parish ministry and took on a part-time camp director job. On paper, things don’t look all that great.
But love… oh we just broke the bank on love this year. I remember writing in a blog post before the summer started that I suspected my heart was going to grow a bit over the summer, but I could never have anticipated how much I would love the staff, campers, visiting staff, and clergy that came to spend time at ECC this summer. I cannot believe how full my heart is in this ministry. Adding to the experiences I had professionally, I got to live with my mom for the year! While that’s not every thrity-something’s dream, it was, in fact, extremely sweet to spend the year with her – especially after living in different states for so many years. I also had a new niece come into the world this year. There’s nothing like having your family get bigger. Holding that little one I think my heart might actually explode. I started Zumba this year, which has brought friendships into my life that I couldn’t have asked for or imagined. Not only do those friends make my life that much better but I get to spend several hours a week DANCING. What’s better than that? Then I got to share that dancing with the camp community and well… that was just about completely transformational for our little corner of Pascoag.
I could go on and on, but I realize that might start to get obnoxious. But it’s important for me, as this year draws to a close, to make note of everything that I’m grateful for. I am profoundly grateful that while 2012 was lacking some of the clout, status, and financial gain the world tells you is important, it was undeniably rich in relationship, grace, and love.
Friends, thank you for being a part of my year, and my life. I am grateful for you. As you reflect on your year I hope you also feel surrounded and blessed by people you love. And don’t for a moment think you aren’t measuring up somehow. Instead, just remember what matters: Measure your life in love.