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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson

New Year & Nine

I’m not sure which was the bigger surprise—that my mom knew about the Enneagram, or that she self-identified as a One. One being the Reformer. The Perfectionist, which is what I’d assumed I’d be, years ago, when I was introduced to the assessment. But One is merely a wing for my Nine.

I was still in my PJ’s on a Sunday morning, the second day of the new year, and our twelfth day of Christmas, give or take. Our bunkhouse guests had packed their bags in the dark of pre-dawn, checking on a daughter’s flight to Paris, loading their two-car caravan, bound for the Canadian border. I would have missed this departure altogether if not for my dog’s riotous farewell.

Alone for a few moments in the post-holiday quiet, I pulled a Scotch-taped remnant of gift-wrap from the living room rug, tidied up a board-game, and repositioned my wreath of candles. Wicks flickering, tree lit, nightlight glowing in the nativity stable—I gathered Bible and coffee, and a cozy blanket, and headed for my favorite chair. An hour or so later I had just begun a bit of New Year’s journaling, when my upstairs guests began to filter down.

My mom and sister settled into the loveseat, Kyle on the sofa with the sprawling dog, when someone said something about the Enneagram. My husband, maybe. Yes, I believe it was him. A Two through-and-through, and before the morning had even started he was on his device looking for a housing solution for a family member. Two’s being Helpers—which he certainly is.

And my mom’s a Reformer. Of course. It took me a minute to let it sink in, and then it made perfect sense. One is the rational, idealistic type: principled, purposeful, self-controlled, and perfectionistic. Mom holding fast to her convictions, sticking to her guns when anyone else would certainly give up. These past two years of crazy, when all the world seems inconsistent, I’ve thought more than once—Mom is still doing what Mom’s always done. I respect her for that. Mom doesn’t waver.

Which is why I’m not One.

Nine’s are Peacemakers, moving about like shifting shadows. I tried hard, at first, to deny my nine-ness. The easygoing, self-effacing type: receptive, reassuring, agreeable, and complacent. To this day I’m not sure there’s one word in that definition that actually applies to me. I suppose I was the first to reassure Zsofi when she missed her first flight to Paris, waiting on a Covid test. And I’d be the last person to stir the pot at anyone’s Christmas. But easy-going? (My One-wing can hardly sit still when there’s a sink full of dirty dishes.) And what in the world is self-effacing?


"I’ve found other assessments to be more useful,” I said to my sister, who also identifies as Nine—though we are nothing alike. To prove my point, Gina chose that moment to bound across the room for a quick snuggle in my single-person chair. I being an INFJ all the way—and my post-twelve-days-of-Christmas-parties introversion creating a bigger than normal bubble—panicked.

And then. One more sleepover, and two mornings later, I found myself actually alone, finally, and journaling again in that same favorite chair. When it struck me. Or maybe it was the Spirit who did the striking. Because there I was, still trying to come up with my New Year’s Resolution, when I had this aha moment about the Enneagram Nine…

A Nine at the top of the Enneagram Wheel, seeing all the others, appreciating each…

A Nine in a classroom of children, seeing and cherishing each unique human…

A Nine in a politically charged season, seeing the sides, relating to each…

A Nine in our churches, savoring gifts in each place of worship…

A Nine as PEACEMAKER. Seeing the beauty in what God has created. Diversity. Differences. Denominations.

All of those numbers on the Enneagram.

And this question:

Who will bring them to the table together?

My resolution:

Okay, then. That’s Me.

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