My Star Word for 2018 was given to me by Ted Danson.
Yep. That Ted Danson. The guy who played Sam Malone, the handsome, womanizing bartender on Cheers in the eighties and nineties. And the guy who now stars in The Good Place, a delightful show about a woman who dies and mistakenly ends up in heaven (her behavior on earth really merited her a spot in The Bad Place).
I turned 50 last June, and one of the many benefits of that milestone is having a copy of AARP Magazine show up in my mailbox each month. Ted, it turns out, was on the cover of the October 2017 issue.
In the article, Ted talked about his wife, Mary Steenburgen. He explained that he’s a worrier, and would often get anxious when Mary was away. “Would she be okay?” “What if something bad happens and I never see her again?” One day he decided to consider the flip side of those worries. He practiced saying, “How wonderful it is that I have a wife whom I love so much and want to be safe!” In doing this, he worried less and practiced gratitude more. And he began to recognize how his life was full of abundance.
Reading that little magazine article, the word abundance jumped out at me. It resonated and stayed with me. The following days and weeks, I found myself coming back to it, and I noticed it everywhere. Abundance. I realized I had received my word for 2018, even though this happened back in October, long before I had planned to begin thinking about my 2018 Star Word. It was a nice reminder that the Holy Spirit isn’t bound by the calendar, and that my word can come at any time, from any place, from any one,including an October issue of AARP Magazine featuring Ted Danson.
If you have never tried receiving a word to guide you through the year, I invite you to try it this year. Consider this story of Ted Danson and an AARP article, then just listen and wait patiently for your word to be revealed.
As I’ve said, this is the fourth year I’ve followed this practice of identifying a word for the year, and it has quickly become one of my favorite ways of listening for God’s presence in my life. I use the word in my morning prayer time, listening for new meanings the word might reveal. When I come across the word in conversation or reading, I notice it and try to identify its message for me in that moment. It’s especially helpful when I’m dealing with a stressful issue. I will bring my Star Word to mind and focus on it, allowing it to teach me something about God’s presence in the midst of my present worries.
My other favorite part of this journey has been receiving and celebrating the words that have been given to those of you who have already been listening for your words. Dozens of you shared your words here, as well as on Facebook and Instagram. I combined all the entries to create the word cloud you see here. The larger the word, the more that word was mentioned. By far, the most popular word for the year was joy. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Congrats to Walter N. (Expectation), Cadie B. (Vitality), and Denise K. (Celebrate). They are the giveaway winners. Again, thanks to all of you who shared your words. May 2018 be a year of abundance for you!