Sunday, March 16, 2014

Enjoying the Beauty of Now

Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old.  I am about to do a new thing: now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?  I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.- Isaiah 43:18,19 (NRSV)

I realize that this passage is actually a prophecy concerning Israel, but I also find that when we meditate on passages of Scripture certain words or phrases may seem to stand out and speak to something in our own lives in the present time. In this particular passage the phrases "new thing" and "springs forth" brought to mind the direction my life is taking. I believe God is continuing to open a new page in my life and I am excited about what He is teaching me.

My "new thing" is that I am becoming more aware of the beauty of now, of the little things, of the seemingly ordinary things that often go unnoticed  But as I think about it, this isn't really a new desire for me.  I came across a prayer I had written over 20 years ago. Here is what I wrote: Thank you, Lord, for the beautiful world you have made! Help me to take time to appreciate the beauty and learn more of you. And help me to pass this desire on to my children.  What is new is that I am making a greater effort to see and enjoy the beauty.

The phrase "spring forth" calls me to take the beauty I find, let it spill over into my life and touch others beginning right in my own home.  God is teaching me to use my eyes to see more, my camera to capture more, and my writing and art to share what I find with others and maybe help them to see more of the beauty in the ordinary things.  Here is excerpt from another prayer I recorded those many years ago: Help me to find creative ways to make our home more pleasing. Help us to enjoy the beauty all around us. 

What is different now is that I've found a group of women that are on this journey with me.  In an online writing group of women writers we are being offered some smaller groups that will focus on certain things for 40 days.  They are called collectives, and the one I am involved in is called Reframing, which is simply a way to see the ordinary in a different way and to record what we find with our cameras and our words.

As I meditated on the above scripture this morning I was drawn to the view outside the window by my desk. I noticed the bare hardwood trees whose leaves had fallen, which signifies to me a death of sorts. The trees are obviously not dead, but they had to shed their dead leaves. The one curious thing is that some of the hardwoods still have lots of brown leaves. It's as if they want to hold on as long as they can not realizing that they have to let go of the old to make way for the new.  And they will probably hang on until the new ones force them to fall.  

Aren't we like that sometimes?  We like to hold onto things even when we know that letting go is for the best. Like those leaves, there are parts of us that need to "die" in order for God to make us new, to continually grow us into the people we were meant to be.  Sometimes we hold on to something because it makes us feel safe, but what if that part we cling to is actually keeping us from realizing our full potential as people made in God's image with the ability to create in our own finite way?  


In this picture I also see the pines that stand out with their vivid green against the background of the bare trees. They stand firm against the onslaught of winter and keep their bright color, as if to say, "You can't get me down."   Sometimes we need to be like these strong evergreens and hold on tightly to what we have and know to be true no matter what storms we have to face.

In both of these illustrations, that of letting go and holding on there is truth. We all need wisdom to know when to let go and when to cling to what we know to be true.  God will give us that wisdom if we just ask. I want to be used of God to encourage others and part of that process is my practice of observing and enjoying the beauty of now.

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