• See the beauty woven into the fabric of life • Hope is like drops of dew amidst fragile strands shining in the light • Outward fragility can belie strength and purpose • When sticky situations rear up, hold on to what is good and kind • Dishonesty builds tangled webs of deceit • Nurture that which builds lasting relationships and overcomes storms • Attend to tremors and shakings signaling significant arrivals • If caught unaware, we run headlong into that which can trap us • Know there is still purpose when we are dusty and spent • Recognizing our smallness builds humility and empathy • The spider’s mountain is still a mountain • We are nourished as we are being formed • Be one who draws others to receive healing • When ragged and torn, turn to God who makes us new
– From “Reflections from the Everyday” Charlotte-Anne Allen
Like this, and this… Now move these fingers. As my beginner self practices the fingering and chords on my classical guitar, I move slowly. Learning a new piece takes time and attention, whatever the difficulty level may be for that person. It’s not enough just to know the notes but takes so much more into consideration, such as movement across the strings and how to play each phrase. It requires effort and dedication over time to make the whole piece beautiful and meaningful, knowing that there will be mistakes but persevering and doing our best. Then too, it is not so much the level of accomplishment as it is the satisfaction it brings to oneself and to others. This makes it fun and exciting.
Encountering new things is a regular part of life. What new things get you excited? Is it that new car smell, an anticipated job, a relationship, or a baby and new life? Maybe you are looking forward to a time of growth, learning a new skill, gaining knowledge, or an opportunity to serve. New things and new times can be hard and unwanted too. Maybe we’re just ready to shed stressful experiences and move forward. As I grow older, there are more things to miss but there are also more things to treasure. Faith in God, prayer, community, and family are vital supports when facing new situations. Working through new things can be a long process.
What if I just continued to play the same guitar piece or practiced the same scales over-and-over without using them to improve my music… never learned new pieces? I imagine that boredom or apathy would sneak in, and I may give it up completely. Where would I be if I just focused on my mistakes and my missed practice, or if I let my enjoyment be affected by feelings of not being good enough? Satisfaction and contentment come, not just from what we gain through our new experiences, but what we can also give to others.
My prayer is that we will be as new songs each day, that we praise God for his great love as He holds us through our pain and through our joy, and that we give even as we gain… May our lives be as beautiful music in His hands.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God… Psalm 40:3
“Rumble-rumble, screech, thump!” My mom cocked her head toward the ceiling as she listened to the sounds of my room-cleaning upstairs. I loved to re-arrange my furniture! I well remember our regular Saturday cleaning routine, a requirement before we could pursue other interests, and especially the more thorough spring or fall cleanings.
Howevermuch we may grumble about the cleaning process, or perhaps like some of us who enjoy it, there is great satisfaction in a job completed. Something accomplished!
For everyday cleaning, it’s amazing what even a few minutes of straightening or putting away things can do. Lost or misplaced items are re-discovered, and we no longer have to hunt for them. Dirty clothes in the hamper. Clean dishes put up. A spot of clutter removed. Trash carried out…
Then there is the deep cleaning, removing accumulated dust and grim of everyday living and use. It requires more effort and intentional planning. Neglecting the everyday or more frequent cleaning can make that job a lot harder too!
This makes me think of “heart cleaning.” Am I as conscious of the condition of my heart, such as my thoughts and intentions or faith, as I am of my home or other surroundings? The psalmist pled, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.” * Clean or pure; not polluted or filthy. He knew that this was a “deep cleaning” job! This was going to require a lot of help!
It’s so easy to let things accumulate isn’t it? Just like dust or clutter can build up in our home, it can also build up within us. That dissatisfaction or irritation. A wayward word. An apology never offered. An unhealthy thought or grudge. The list can be long!
Just like the everyday cleaning of our home or other places, caring for our daily heart cleaning is a positive step and builds our relationship with God, who knows us best. Paul called attention to our need for the day’s accounting when he cautioned us to not let the sun go down on our anger. *
It’s hard for me to turn loose of things sometimes. When things do accumulate or bowl us over, and they will at times, and when those seasons arrive for the deep cleaning, we don’t have to go it alone. God hears our call and pulls out the heavy-duty cleaners, creating “a new and right spirit” within. My prayer and anticipation for us is that we will invite Him to come on in, and so welcome a new season.
• Each day needs slipper moments • Rise to a new day with anticipation of good • A warm smile and kind touch bring comfort • Soft words encourage healing and rest • Protecting others is a most noble call and occupation • Reach out to others like a warm home on a cold day • Slip on true friendship and slide off falsehood • Put on that which will enrich life • Embrace laughter and silly slippers for a joyful heart • A peaceful evening of rest is a great blessing • Knowing we are useful brings contentment • The Comforter is always with us