Standing at the Starting Line

I recently started a part time job as a sales associate at a local home and garden store. Even though I had a lot of experience in other areas, I would be a “beginner” there. No training on a cash register, no idea where everything is, the one who would have more questions than answers.

Honestly, I feel like I’m starting over in just about every area of my life. That starting line isn’t the same as it was in the past, however. When we are older, we get to bring the confidence that comes from knowing all we have come through.

Sometimes we can look at how different everything looks and feel a little overwhelmed by it all. But it helps to remember that we are reinventing ourselves and these challenging transitions allow for some wonder to slip into our lives. This quiet confidence provides a beauty and a strength which is easily passed on to others. And that is its own reward.

So I’m bringing a smile and a warm hello to all who enter the store. I might have to ask for help at every turn, but I’m not frustrated by that. I am getting to learn new things and meet new people.

I can look backwards and forward from this point because even though I’m starting over, my “success” this time is measured by my confidence. No longer by acceptance or external validation.

True confidence does not come from knowing everyone will like you, or give you the job, or invite you to the event, or give you the award. It is knowing that even if none of those things happen, you will be ok.

For me, this isn’t just about a new job. It’s about new eyes, a new heart, new enthusiasm, and a new hope.

Every morning, the sun says, “It’s time to begin anew.” Every single time, it brings beauty along with it. I see you, my friend. I’m feeling the same way. Let’s go start anew and watch the beauty unfold as we go..

Things Frosty Knew

“Frosty the snowman knew the sun was hot that day. So he said,
“Let’s run and we’ll have some fun now before I melt away.'”

A shift in the atmosphere can shift everything. Frosty knew that “the sun was hot that day” and the shape of things was about to change. It doesn’t say that everyone else knew, though. They were likely enjoying the snow thinking Frosty would be with them forever.

I think back to so many moments of my life that I thought were forever. Carefree childhood days, walking our high school halls, being home with toddlers, having children asleep in their beds, friendships and communities, being in a pandemic…

In good times and in hard, we can think the “snowman thing” will last forever. But seasons change. And so does the shape of life. It looked one way. But the “hot sun” changed it up. It’s often hard to visualize what the next season will look like, the one that comes after the melting away.

But though the “hot sun” will forever change things up, melted away things are never the final word. Transformation and renewal hold that honor, and that gives us hope through every shape shifting change.

There is always renewal built into changing shapes. Light, hope, and  peace break forth so that melted things will not be our focus. God rest ye merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay…

When Frosty left, he said, “Don’t you cry, I’ll be back again some day.” Obviously it wouldn’t be the same Frosty. A different version of life springs forth when everything changes, and we can trust that tidings of great joy are wrapped around that form.

Perhaps we can learn something from Frosty; he seemed to know things. Seasons change and today will not always look the same. If we can trust that our present season is purposeful, and that it involves rest and renewal, we can have hope for today. Just maybe it will give us the courage to “run and have some fun.”  And a little fun is always a good idea.

Holding on to Hope

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” ~Desmond Tutu

Trying to make sense out of this season…there is so much swirling around us. It can be hard to wrestle with all the thoughts that fly at us in a day. 

I had been reading a book by Henri Nouwen, spiritual writer and theologian, and I identified one of the swirling thoughts. A friend had asked him if he thought humanity would survive the century. A question certainly relevant today.

“Important for me is not if our civilization will survive or not but if we can continue to live with hope.”

He went on to say that we must always live with hope. And in spite of all the surrounding chaos, we have to avoid the temptation of despair, becoming more aware that God is present. Or a greater Light. Or the compelling force of Love.

And I realized how easily I let go of hope. In spite of all “the surrounding chaos,” all the challenges I face personally, all the things I can’t seem to fix, all the seeming wrong in this nation, all the scandals, lies, vitriol rhetoric, division, hatred, and fear, we must remember a bigger perspective.

Whatever we face personally or as a nation, there is something bigger than us. God is with us. Light and Love guide the universe. Every single day.
May we continue to live in hope. It matters.