Every year i try to focus in on a Word for the Year and 2024 is no different.
Although, i guess you could say it is a little different, as i normally use words that exist. But while i was leaning in and listening and trying to get a sense of what my word for this year would be i came up with a made-up word that i thought would be perfect. And then i went to sleep and totally forgot what it was by the morning. i remembered it started with an L and was a combination of words, but literally could not remember anything else about it.
So i waited, although when that type of thing happens, there is a certain resignation knowing that it will not likely come back. But fortunately for me, this time it did. The word i am choosing to use as my word for the year of 2024 is the Brett Fish created ‘LERVICE’
But what does Lervice mean, you ask?
[This pic above was from my recent Morocco trip where i got to hang around at the Bloom coffee shop on a number of days and Driss and the other guys who worked there would continually serve me amazing coffees whenever i wanted, Driss going out of his way to make me this beautiful and amazing tasting orange juice coffee combo which i absolutely adored! An incredible ongoing example of service]
May i be of Lervice?
For the quick video version of what Lervice is about, you can jump onto my Tickedy Tok and take a quick watch of this video. Or you can just stick around here, cos i am about to explain it.
Most of you are already most of the way there, i imagine, but let me spell it out for you, and just to let you know that it has already landed well on social media as i have sent out a few preliminary hints:
Quite simply the word i was thinking of using as my word for the year 2024 was the word ‘Service’ which is the part you already got. But that reminded me of a story i heard from my friend and housemate Sueihn, when we lived in Philadelphia so many years ago:
Sueihn used to volunteer at a Native American/First Nations reservation every year. The one year she arrived and was speaking to the people and they told her that in the past five weeks, five different mission groups had come to the reservation and had painted their hall. So the hall had received five coats of paint one after the other, because that is what the mission team people had in mind to do, not because it was any kind of need of the First Nations people living there. That story stuck with me and really challenged my notion of short term missions where the people coming from the outside usually decide on the needs of the people inside.
So i decided to come up with a word that embodied the heart of Service, but also had a strong focus on the service being helpful [and hopefully appreciated] to the ones being served.
[The world’s most famous stuffed dolphin, No_bob, and i gazing into the future to see what 2024 might hold for us]
Word for the Year 2024: Lervice
The word i have chosen – Lervice – is predominantly the word ‘Service’ but with the L of ‘Listening’ added on to the beginning.
The idea is that Listening must come first. So i really want 2024 to be a year where i can serve those around me, but in the direction that they want to go. Not beause of what i tghink might be good, necessary, or helpful. But in terms of how they have identified their needs. Lervice – a Listening kind of Service. Or maybe a Kind Listening Service. If it goes the way it is intended at least.
So that is my hope and heart for 2024. It has been three somewhat shaky years of my marriage somewhat abruptly ending and then trying to crawl through the debris and find myself again. And last year in particular i gave myself an opportunity to heal [word for 2023 was, in fact, Healing] and while that process continues, and there is still a fair bit of work to be done, i really am ready to have a more outward focus and to hopefully be a lot more about serving other people in Love.
This will happen in part through my work with Heartlines and if you haven’t heard of the values-based story-sharing work i do [then you likely haven’t really spoken to me properly in the last few years!] then take a look at some of the free resources we have on the website. But more particularly, make sure you check out the Fathers Matter tab and if you have still not seen any of our 6 quality 25-minute short films, then do yourself a huge favour and make time and have a watch [or six!] You will not be sorry. And we will be holding a Fathers Matter Ambassador’s Conference in Cape Town in a couple of months time, so if you have someone in your church or organisation who has a strong heart for fathers and might be interested in running point for this, connect them to me, please.
But it will also happen through my day to day life as i look around and listen and hopefully pick up on oppportunities to serve both people i know and complete strangers. i want the notion of Lervice to be my guiding word and action for 2024.
Do you have a word for 2024? Would Love to hear what yours is so please drop it in the comments. And not too late to pause and listen and find a word to help shape and guide your year. Or you are very much welcome to share mine…