Do you have a one word for 2022? I felt led to chose the word wait. Now I’m dealing with God’s sense of humor. Or his answer to my prayer.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
“You know what this means, don’t you?” Pedro asked. His voice sounded guarded and distant as he spoke through the car’s Bluetooth system.
“Yeah,” I said. “I’ll get the guest room ready.” His dad would be moving in with us for the foreseeable future. The first week of December 2021 hadn’t gone anything as I’d expected it.
His 89-year-old dad tripped and fell in his driveway. On the way back from the emergency room the next day, Pedro realized his dad didn’t seem to know who he was or where he lived. Because of the mental confusion and knee injury (just a bad sprain), we brought his dad to live with us.
Our nest has stayed mostly empty for the last ten years, and having an elderly relative move in has discombobulated me. As Pedro works with his dad’s doctors, takes him to appointments, and cares for his basic needs, I wait.
We thought we had the next six months planned out—vacation times, weekend getaways, and daily routines. Now questions loom like a dark cloud blocking out the sun. Will his dad be able to live on his own after cataract surgery? Does his dad have dementia? Perhaps he will need memory care soon.
And so I wait. But I don’t do a very good job of waiting. I chose the word wait for my one word for 2022, and God, with his sense of humor, opened ample opportunities for me to live the word.
One Word for 2022
My one word for 2022 has two meanings. Wait—to have patience during uncertainty. It also means to serve—to wait on someone. Each day I wait on my father-in-law as I clean up the trails of crumbs he leaves scattered across the kitchen.
Although I’ve known him for 35 years, I don’t really know my father-in-law. His wife dominated all conversations (she passed away in September). He speaks Spanish better than English. I speak English better than Spanish. He comes from an era when adults were the jug and children the mugs. (He’d rather dispense wisdom and advice than get to know me as a person).
As an introvert, I’ve loved my routine of solitude each afternoon. Now, an almost stranger wanders around my home, interrupting my train of thought with noisy phone calls and quiet questions.
His frail, shuffling movements trigger me to a time of intense emotional trauma—when Pedro had cancer, weighed 135 pounds, and could only move at a shuffle. I decided to take my own advice and seek a good therapist rather than suffer in silent stress during this time of transition and waiting.
And so we wait. We don’t know how long he’ll live with us, but in the waiting, I see an opportunity. Opportunity to get to know my father-in-law better, to learn to wait on him frustration-free. To clothe myself and my actions in love and leave resentment at the door. Who would have thought my one word for 2022 would challenge me so much?
But I know the peace will come. God promises.
Above all, clothes yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.”Colossians 3:14-15a NIV
Did you choose one word for 2022? How has it impacted your life so far? Check out my friend Lisa’s one-word community!