Begin Again

 

For many years I fell asleep at night thinking about how many things I'd done wrong that day.  I planned how I'd do better tomorrow. I liked the feeling of a new morning . . . fresh, with no mistakes in it, as Anne of Green Gables used to say. :)

But in that lovely scene where Anne romanticizes the perfection of an unsoiled day, her teacher, Miss Stacey, responds from a place of wisdom and maturity. "With no mistakes in it yet," she says.

Right now it's a Monday morning in January -- a trifecta of newness. New day, new week, new year.  When I was younger I'd look at this as the time to suddenly become the perfect version of myself that I still believed was inside me somewhere. I'd make lists and promises and resolutions. Then I'd inevitably "fail". Now I'm (thankfully!) standing outside that cycle of white-knuckled effort and (perceived) failure. I am learning that God doesn't just love the "good" parts of me, but that He loves ALL of me.  My failures don't make me unacceptable, they're part of being human. To reject my limits, my weakness, and my struggles is to reject my humanity. What a loss that would be!  Being human—being alive—is so mysteriously beautiful, painful, and . . . brief. I don't want to miss out on it by constantly trying to outrun myself.
Here's a passage from Brennan Manning's book, The Ragamuffin Gospel:
"... it requires enormous trust and reckless, raging confidence to accept that the love of Christ knows no shadow of alteration or change. When Jesus said, 'Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened,' He assumed we would grow weary, discouraged, and disheartened along the way. These words are a touching testimony to the genuine humanness off Jesus."
I don't think newness has anything to do with clocks or calendars. I think it's an embodied rhythm that is so quiet and constant that I could easily miss it. Newness comes with the grace of each breath. Wendell Berry puts it this way: "We and all other creatures live by a sanctity that is inexpressibly intimate, for to every creature the gift of life is a portion of the breath and spirit of God."

 

 
Sarah JonesComment