A New Leaf

Ponderings in Changing Seasons


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New Beginnings

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“Let’s pretend the world just started,” I was heard to say when a wee four years old.

This wish-filled idea was oft-quoted to me through the years by my dear, departed mother.  Perhaps it was because she, too, whimsically wished for a New Start for Mother Earth.

Turning the calendar page always for me brings a fresh rush of newness ..  a new month, perhaps ushering in a New Season.  With it comes a sigh somehow of relief and of expectation.  But hanging a New Calendar sometime in December, then finally getting to reveal January on the page with its inspiring or funny or poignant picture is more than a “RUSH”; it is an AHHhhh that I can get  ~ in essence ~ a Start-Over for a whole New Year!

As we stand this day with one foot in 2013 and the other in 2014, may we find pause for reflection.  Looking back, as in a rearview mirror, we may revel in accomplishments resulting from our own hard effort and in surprises that brought joy and meaning for which we had to put forth no particular effort of our own.  We may also see in our rear view those times that were painful, filled with angst and confusion, that may or may not have resulted from choices, activities we willingly embraced.  Perhaps through no fault of our own, we were victims of others’ choices or actions.  Perhaps we must muse upon our own part and find a place of remorse and repentance.  Rearview mirrors are sometimes hard to adjust to get just the right perspective.

But every rearview mirror is attached to a windshield, a large viewing glass for seeing what is NOW and for seeing what is AHEAD!  Though our ability to look very far ahead may be limited, we nonetheless are created with an ability to imagine, to anticipate, to expect.  What a GIFT this!  To be equipped, as we are, limited as we may be, to FORESEE.

In this Year-to-Come may we ask for increased perception, increased insight and discernment.  In the Year of 2014 may GROWTH and BALANCE become by-words.  As we each in our own way seek to discover greater meaning and purpose for our individual and our corporate lives, may we GROW in WISDOM.

To become WISE in my living; to become more thoughtful and compassionate in my relationships; to become more patient, more forgiving, more charitable in my assessment of others are worthy goals for this coming year.  Quickly, I will be challenged.  Certainly, I will fall down.  But, Above All, is GRACE.  Knowing that I am loved, that I am accepted unconditionally by my Heavenly Father, my Abba Father, I will get back up and continue aspiring to end 2014 better than I begin it.

No, we can’t make the WORLD start over.  Much is out of kilter, even devastatingly wrong in this world of ours.  Yet, ALL is never fully lost; ALWAYS we have the PROMISE of NEW BEGINNINGS.  ALWAYS JESUS is waiting for us to come, to bow down, to give our hearts and minds and lives over to Him that we may THRIVE, not just survive, the uncertainties, the privileges and the injustices, the vagaries, the ebb and flow of our earthly existence.  He is waiting to grant favor to each who come to Him.

As you start your calendar for this New Year, as you perhaps are Turning a New Leaf in your life, may you breathe in relief in the reality that you are not alone, that you are accompanied by many other pilgrims on this Path of Life who also choose to grow and to change.  May you find Peace on this bit of Earth that you trod.  And may you find Hope Still in your journey.

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Shadows on the Wall

A childhood poem by Robert Louis Stevenson was oft quoted by my Mama.

“My Shadow” goes like this:

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me                                                                                                                                                           And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.                                                                                                                                             He is very, very like me from his heels up to his head                                                                                                                                                 And I see him jump before me when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow-
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,
And he sometimes gets so little that there’s none of him at all.

He hasn’t got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close beside me, he’s a coward, you can see;
I’d think shame to stick to Nursie as that shadow sticks to me!

One morning very early before the sun was up                                                                                                                                                                         I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup.                                                                                                                                                But my lazy little shadow like an errant sleepyhead                                                                                                                                            Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.

One December morning when I arose, there were no buttercups and it was not my shadow that struck me, but the contrasted beauty of shadows and light across the snow!

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And I spied the vacant swing of summer, stirring in the cold wind, now ensconced with snow ~ saving a seat for its next occupant be it winged or footed.

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Shadows have always intrigued me.  Did anyone else grow up playing Shadow Tag late on steamy summer evenings?  In the dark with just a street light or porch light to cast the shadows, it was easy to trip on some stone or root or impediment unseen.   But the fun trumped the risk.  With great peals of laughter and joy, the tagged became the tagger and on and on the game would go.

Now, shadows are more figurative than literal in my life … shadows of days gone by, shadows of things yet to come.  I have waited in this Season when the Christ Child was incubating.  I wait on Time.  It is TIME that I crave in these long days of Winter!  Time to spend with family, time to reflect on God’s Grace and Mercy, time to rest by the fire; time to love in the doing, time to prepare for a Newness Coming, time to give and time to receive!  Even Time becomes shadowy as it moves in erratic intervals.

Shadows herald Change!  The sun may be rising or setting.  The light that creates shadow is always shifting.  Shadows grow long or short.  The direction in which a shadow lies is also fluid.

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Link your fingers together with a strong light behind and you can create your own drama of shadow:  first, a bunny, then a horse, then a looming ogre ready to devour.  Haven’t we all marveled at our own power to make cute or ugly, inviting or repelling?

We love discovering the power embedded within us to sculpt with shadow play.

But there is ONE Who has NO SHADOW!  For there is NO SHADOW of turning with Him!*  HE ~ Jehovah God, Father of Saviour Jesus ~ never changes!  HE is the SAME yesterday, today and FOREVER!**  And HIS is the Ultimate POWER!

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Regardless of the shadows that might be looming large in your life, His Light will dispel any darkness that threatens to over~shadow.***  As you reflect upon your own understanding of power, or the lack thereof, in this Season of Shadows and Light, may you experience Great Peace in knowing that you are covered by the Shadow of His Wings.****  May you know the Presence and Power of the One who is The Light!

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* James 1:17

** Hebrews 13:8

*** John 1:5

**** Psalm 91:1; 17:8