I would not be one of those who will foolishly drive a nail into mere lath and plastering; such a deed would keep me awake nights. Give me a hammer, and let me feel for the furrowing. Do not depend on the putty. Drive a nail home and clinch it so faithfully that you can wake up in the night and think of your work with satisfaction,—a work at which you would not be ashamed to invoke the Muse.... Every nail driven should be as another rivet in the machine of the universe, you carrying on the work.
Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Around the new year, hundreds of bloggers take to the internet to write about their intentions for the following twelve months. Not long ago, a trend started to emerge: one word to guide the upcoming year. In 2015, some people choose three; some share their word with others; you can even join a five-day guided course to discover your word.
I used to write a notebook of reflections and resolutions; that lasted about three years. But when I realized that twelve months is too much time to think about at once, I stopped worrying about goal-setting and started simply trying do good and make the lives of others better.
2015 is now 20% finished, and though I had no intention of finding one, a word has begun to emerge: radiate.
At a church where I play piano for the choir, the celebrant ends the service by saying, "Go forth, glorifying the lord with your life." It is an injunction to turn your values into a way of living, to personify some great truth in every moment. I tend to believe that is the best thing to do with one's values and the truths that one holds dear. I tend to believe that one's sleeve is the only place for one's heart.
"Radiate" is an injunction to turn inward and stoke a fire that burns beyond the boundaries of one's bones and skin. To cultivate an un-ignorable sense of being. To allow, indeed to encourage, oneself to experience all the delightful and destructive moments of living. To radiate, therefore, is not to live aloud but to live so completely and well that others have no choice but to listen, though your song may be softly sung.