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Posts Tagged ‘starting over’

tumblr_meydjiDofs1r1mkubo1_500Today marks two months that Mike, my husband and father to our children, passed. Like a goose stepping march, the days and weeks and now months, advance, without pause. How peculiar time feels: some time is like a whirlwind, lived and gone before I can even call it a day while other time slogs its way through the sun’s ecliptic journey.

Don’t let it escape your notice, dear friends, that with the Lord a single day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a single day. The Lord isn’t slow to keep his promise, as some think of slowness, but he is patient toward you, not wanting anyone to perish but all to change their hearts and lives. [2 Peter 3:8-9, CEB]

Some say that grieving cannot be measured by time, it is different for everyone, and yet, the two month mark has precedence, a turning point of sorts for most survivors of loss where they begin a true re-entry. I suppose I beat that mark to some degree. Not for lack of love or care, but merely the unassailable demands of food, shelter, and clothing.

I remember many years ago when I was living single in New York City, a struggling actress, making do with restaurant jobs and occasional paid gigs, and a dream of dance/theater company that could make a difference. But, in the end, the personalities of the players were incompatible and we needed to part ways, not unlike a messy divorce. During that time, I told them of feeling overwhelmed and just plain tired of being in one of the driver’s seats and footing the bills. And one friend said, “You can’t fall apart. We count on you too much.” And so, I ran away. I left the City and the group and started over in the Midwest.

Starting over is time-based. It’s a resetting of the clock; it’s restarting the stopwatch.

Every day is actually a new countdown. It’s the measure we humans have all agreed upon. And then, a few specific days make their mark and become an inauguration of a longer period of time, a month or a year, or, as in my case today, a simple reminder of a finale, that other day when the clock stopped for the Mike part of my heart and would not begin again.

But God’s clock is not linear. I’m not exactly sure what that means for me, except for an unfailing Presence that is not put off by my lateness or my laziness, does not measure me by my effectiveness or my falls, does not count my mistakes or my successes. God is now and God is now again. And Jesus, who lived linearly for a human lifetime, is once again now, and identifies experientially with the pain of time.

Two months. 62 days. 1,488 hours. 89,280 minutes. 5,356,800 seconds. plus now. No algorithm for that.

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Painting by Frank Wesley

It was not a quick departure from the ark at all. Depending on the counting system one uses and the assumptions about the calendar, it was a good year that everyone was on the ark. A full year in a small space. A full year in which a whole set of norms were created. When the door opened, everything changed, again.

Genesis 8:15-16a; 9:6
Then God said to Noah,“Come out of the ark. . . . And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being.

The implication of a couple of verses seems to be that there was not a lot of animal eating on the ark. That makes sense since the there were a limited number of animals that could be there. Was the situation more like the exodus when shoes did not wear out and people survived on manna? Who knows. But one thing is clear, once they left the ark, Human was given, once again, full authority over all living creatures and could eat of them (as long as the lifeblood was not in them – a somewhat anti-vampire mandate).

But even more important, along with the promise (and subsequent covenant God makes with and to Human), God also announces a required  accounting from each and every living creature, including Human, on earth. In essence, if “you” (living thing) are going to live on this earth, if I (God) am going to give you a fresh start, then you have to report out on how you used this gift of life.

I wonder if I had a stronger sense of this in my own life if I would make different choices?

Instead of worrying about “not” sinning or avoiding “bad things,” wouldn’t it be better to be more conscious of the good use of time, the strong ROI of my investment of time, money, and energy.

They say that many people who have a near-death experience often view life differently from then on. And depending on their foundation, they either become lackadaisical (what’s the point) or they become keenly focused on making each day count. It is a question one hears, “What if you had x amount of days to live, how would you live differently? . . . or would you?

Becoming a follower Christ, is a little like coming out an ark. It, too, is a fresh start. As a new believer, it is so much easier to see and feel the renewal. But, as we grow older in the faith, I think we lose touch with the wonder and worse, we lose touch with our accounting.

I think it’s daily actually. It should be part of our prayer life. I would like to bring it into my own prayers, my evening prayers, my review of the day. Oh Lord, this is what I did with this day, your gift to me. Forgive the missteps; rejoice with me in your moments; and thanks for the grace when I was afraid.

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Starting over. That’s what rebirth and renewal are all about. Starting over. The trick is getting the right stuff, the right soap, for washing away the crap. Despite all good intentions, there’s only One soap that works: the suds and bubbles of the Holy Spirit.

Titus 3:4-5
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, . . .

I can’t make myself new or clean. I can even take a bath in all the good things of life, but the inner life is cleansed by Spirit and nothing else.

I have always recoiled at the standard Christian phrase, “Have you been born again?” I know it’s in scripture, the phrase was used by Jesus himself to Nicodemus [John 3:6-7]. But, at that time, the phrase wasn’t used to separate the good ones from the really good ones, the saved ones from the really saved ones, and so on.

And yet, I wonder, how different would it be to ask, “Have you Started Over?” Isn’t this what most people really want and need? People who are enmeshed in habits and addictions, abusive relationships, cyclical poverty, dead-end jobs, bottomless grief, or numbing isolation, wouldn’t the offer of starting over and beginning anew, or turning a corner where the past no longer drove actions or decisions, where the weight of mistakes no longer caused slow shuffling steps, wouldn’t that be a cause for hope?

In actuality, with the presence of the Holy Spirit, every day is a new day and a new start. Every day is a beginning. Every day is filled with possibilities.

Wash me today, Lord. Wash me today.

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