Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A New Day

Each day is a new day.  Unlike any other day.  Yes, the sun comes up in the east, but as it rises there is a newness about it, as if it had never risen before and I am seeing the sunrise for the first time.

Each day I am reborn.  Reborn with the new dawn.  Reborn as the rays of the sun run slowly across my yard, piercing the darkness of the dark woods.  Reborn in the light.

A new beginning.  A chance to be made new.  A new day to get it right, to say the right things, to walk the path of righteousness.  A new day to show the love and forgiveness that I did not show yesterday.  A new day, a new gift from God.

The possibilities are endless.  As this new person, on this new day, I can choose anew.  I can choose to be different.  Old habits are fallen away.  All things are made new.  Old problems can now be seen in a new light, approached from a new angle by this new person that I now choose to be.

Old relationships can be made new.  Forgotten friendships can be renewed.  Words never spoken can be spoken.  Frowns can become smiles.  Rejection can become love.

And as this new day progresses, I am either a force for good or a force for bad.  I am a stillness or I am a movement.  I am a scratchy noise or I am a symphony.  I am a shout or I am a calming hum.  I am the warmth or I am the cold wind.  I am a unifier or I am a divider.  I am an encouraging word, or I am the voice of destruction.

At the end of the day, do I find myself at peace?

As I watch the sunset, am I inspired by the promise of a new day?


Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Garden of Love

All of my adult life I have planted a small family garden in the backyard.  We normally plant tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and peppers.  I have occasionally planted corn and beans, but have had no great luck with them.

I love a garden most when all the work is done and I can stand in front of it and look at the neat, weedless rows of plants; all of them green and growing.  The soil is still loose and fresh from tilling.

But as the summer progresses, the weeds begin to grow, the soil becomes packed, and some of the plants begin to show signs of stress.  So, I put on my gardening clothes and shoes, get out my tiller and till again between the rows, being careful not to till up the plants.  I get down on my hands and knees and pull out the weeds that seem to grow purposely intwined in my plants.  I fertilize the plants that are struggling and then I water everything.  All this is done in the heat of a summer day.

When the work is completed, I stand again tired, covered in dirt and sweat, in front of my garden looking at its renewed newness, filled with a sense of joy and love.  That is the only way that I can explain it.  That is my only justification for spending my time in this way.  I love my garden.

The reward for this work are vegetables that are soon ready for picking. There is nothing better than a tomato sandwich made from a tomato just picked from the garden.

The saddest time of gardening is in September when I am hoping against hope, but my plants continue to fade, the vegetables are few, and the weeds are almost unweedable.  I know the end is near.

I close my garden in October.  I pull up all the stakes and pull up the plants that are now dead and diseased and dispose of them.  A sad ending to a glorious beginning.

But a true gardener lives in the promise of the year to come; when the soil is freshly tilled, and all plants are green.  And everything is growing in neatly planted, weed-free rows.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Looking at the Stars

Studies have found that the average working person spends 92% of their time indoors. Children today play an average of 30 minutes a day outside.  I believe that we are not meant for this kind of life. And because we will not open the door to our homes and go outside we suffer with seasonal affective disorder, insomnia, anxiety, vitamin D deficiency, a higher risk for obesity, diabetes, substance abuse, and depression.

There is something calming about the outdoors that the indoors does not offer us.  If our stress levels are high, all we have to do is go for a walk and we will soon be back to normal.

Somewhere along the way, we lost our way.  It wasn't very long ago that President Kennedy was challenging Americans to take 50 mile hikes.  Today, this kind of challenge would be considered a cruel joke.

Not only are we suffering physically from living a life indoors, but I believe we are suffering spiritually.  It is easier to deny God's existence inside.

And after a lifetime of staying inside we may actually view the outside with scorn and lose our ability to see the wonder of God in nature.  A rainfall is a nuisance.  A waterfall becomes a power source, and a mountain range an obstacle.

Years ago, when my daughter was 2 years old I was unbuckling her from her car seat one night.  I gathered her in my arms as I maneuvered myself out of the car and began my walk up the driveway to our home.  Erin looked up into the night sky, her face close to mine, and pointed her finger upward. 

“Look, Daddy,” she said.  I looked up.  I saw nothing.

“Look, “she said again.  I resumed my walk after looking and seeing nothing, again.

“Lights” she said in wonder.

I looked up.  This time I saw them.  The sky was full of brilliant, shimmering stars.  I had not noticed them.  My mind had been so cluttered with worries and problems that I could not see the miracle that was just above me.

Holding her close, we stood there, looking at the stars.