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Posts Tagged ‘Beginnings’

Beginnings aren’t always as they appear.

In fact, beginnings can be downright painful, scary, ugly or cold. Kind of like the new year (at least in this hemisphere) begins in winter, when things take a break and go dormant, die and/or disappear.

Sure, there were all kinds of beginnings I wanted to choose for this challenge: a spectacular sunrise, a new baby jellyfish, the miracles each wave washes ashore, cleansing my feet anew.

But it was this shot that caught my fancy, a shot from a few weeks ago, walking through a rose garden surrounded by a beautiful, well-loved fountain. The roses were so fragrant, enhanced by the sea breeze and fostering poetic inspiration.

Yet in the middle of the roses stood the beloved but defunct fountain, undressed and raw – dead for a time, its water drained for its annual cleaning:

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It stood parched, dirty and naked with all its blemishes were exposed.

What struck me were all the pennies, each one cast by a hopeful soul who made a wish. The pennies sat undisturbed from their final landing place and in varying stages of deterioration – no one had claimed them, as if out of respect to the unknown wishes.

I wondered how many of those penny-wishes were fulfilled?

The fountain is about to get a new beginning. All the wishes will be scooped up, all the dead leaves and debris will be removed and the bottom of the fountain will get a fresh, new paint job for 2014.

Its waters will flow and bubble and reach for the sky again some day soon, and will be more beautiful than ever. But first it had to be drained and sit dead for a time, like the cycle of life for most living things.

The fountain will see new days, new seasons and new wishes. There will be more children romping and playing around it, visitors posing for pictures in front of it – new friends, old friends, young and old lovers, and oh, the wedding parties!

It will come alive again…but its beginning starts out looking pretty destitute and bleak.

Like I tell the parents of the severely disturbed children I serve at work, sometimes you have to hit rock-bottom so that the only place to go is up, out and toward your dreams.

You have to allow that cycle which includes a period of darkness. In the end, it always turns out more incredibly blessed than any of us ever could have orchestrated of our own doing (or fighting God’s will) had we not embraced the discomfort of necessary “dead-time.”

Wait for Him to “clean it out real good” so it can go on to greater things that you never imagined!

Turn it over, let it lie, “be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10). “Let go and let God,” as they say.

Our natural instinct is to hold on tight, but God works in other, greater ways when we trust Him and let go. What can feel like bleak darkness and despair may really be a time of preparation and perfecting, in disguise.

Yes, beginnings don’t always start out looking like the final product…just like none of us can possibly anticipate on our birthday what the year ahead may hold.

This week in the children’s group therapy we created our goals for the new year (while enjoying yummy snacks donated by a generous soul the children have lovingly dubbed “The Snack Man”). I can’t share their actual work, but I can share mine:

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I always keep it kind of general so they don’t get too wrapped up emotionally in me, personally (requisite counseling principle!). To finish another half-marathon (coming up next week! pray, y’all!), to TRY to be good and to read the Bible more.

One goal not listed on there: I have replaced my initial goal of swimming across a very large body of water near here (thanks to the swelling population of the world’s third-most dangerous shark, the bull shark – no thanks!). Instead, I have decided to kayak it, so our fellow blogger and Kayak King, Mr. B at Wind Against Current, is graciously helping me plan for my next trick.

One child came up to me and said, “But Mrs. Muse, you’re ALWAYS good…” Oh, me, oh my! Out of the mouths of babes…

My goals paled in comparison to the children’s goals. They had far more important goals, such as:

  • Find a new family that won’t send me back after a month
  • Do a better job at protecting my mom so she won’t get hurt this year
  • I want to stop being so annoying to everybody, to have a friend
  • To be able to go back to regular school like other kids, and be normal
  • To find and go live with “The Snack Man” so I’ll never be hungry again
  • For my dad to come back after being murdered

Hey, God, this week I’ve heard it said many times that “it is what we make of it,” but I’m not totally convinced of that – I have to believe that it’s partly that, but mostly what You will it to be. Let us be open to downloading Your will for us, apart from our own agendas and goals.

Let us gracefully endure the dark times, letting go fully and trusting that Your new beginnings for us are far more incredible than any we ourselves could plan for or craft. Thank You for those brand, new beginnings, whatever they turn out to be and wherever they may take us in the times to come.

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