New Beginnings


Do you notice that sometimes there are themes around you? I do. Every once in a while, many things around me (or even in me) will work in apparent concert toward some consistent message, idea, or theme.

Lately, I am being pretty often reminded that life is full of new beginnings.

And also that it is not.

For example, each day is a new start, each year—happy new year to you, reader!—and many other instances on the calendar or the clock provide us with a fresh beginning.

Today I marveled at sleep. Each night (for most) we shut down to regenerate. Our energy (and even our heart and mind) is replenished by an end of one day, and a preparation for the beginning of the next. Even within sleep there are cycles that our bodies go through, giving us the most effective, helpful rest to replenish us. Incredible.

A new home, a new business, even paying off debt and gaining new financial freedom—even in our own creations we find the recurring theme of a fresh start.

Some new beginnings are thrust upon us, contrary to anything we may have chosen, by accident, illness, or the will of others. Life can change in a moment—and never go back to how it was.

There are so many new beginnings, it seems to me that it is an essential part of God’s design.

Certainly not the suffering, or any evil, or the pain and brokenness of a fallen world, of the fallen us. But with so many examples around us of cycles of fresh starts and new beginnings, it must be a truth our Designer wants us to see.

Recently I have been noticing that I am no longer young. I don’t feel old, and I realize that compared to many, I do not qualify as aged. (I just spent time with my nearly-nonagenarian grandparents. They probably think I’m silly to talk about “not being young”.)

One recurring scene that reminds me that time has passed is young families. At the store, in photos of friends on social networking sites, at the public library—everywhere I see what I once was. I was them. My young wife and I, along with our younger (and fewer) children. We were those confident-yet-bewildered brand-new adults, feeling our way into what would become our life.

Sometimes—more often than you might think—I wish we could go back. I don’t want to really go back; who would? But I do wonder what it would be like to enjoy that newness again while keeping all the wisdom life has taught me through the experiences we’ve had since.

That is not the way of things.

Life always moves forward. We can’t—and shouldn’t—go back. And so God gives us new beginnings. Each day, each month, each year. And sometimes the new beginning happens at a moment of our choosing. When we choose to accept his new mercy this morning.

Those may sound like “just words” to you. When life thrusts a new beginning upon us, unwelcome, and unchangeable… we don’t want words. We want what we’ve lost. We want to undo the change.

I think God has reminders placed all around us—really, everywhere—that we would know that life moves forward, and he moves with us.

Maybe each time we remember that (and believe it), that is another new beginning. Which means we are perfectly, exactly where we’re meant to be.

22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends![a]
His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
Lamentations 3:22-23

Middle Age

Greg Campbell - Aged

Every once in a while I get to noticing my age.

It might come from stiffness in some joint, or soreness in some muscle. Alternately, I might just ponder the numbers which track my cyclical journeys around the sun. (They do keep increasing…)

On some days, it’s just watching the people around me growing up. My oldest son is just over a year away from driving himself around (and right now he has us doing that many times to many places!) and my daughters will be women before I can blink.

Whatever might trigger it, I can easily be reminded that I am old.

But then I consider that my age still begins with a three. I know that’s not old. I realize there’s likely much life ahead of me, should God decide to number my days so.

My second parents are septuagenarians. My own parents are sexagenarians. And my grandparents are octogenarians. Many important people in my life are still nearly double my age, despite my sometimes feeling ‘old’.

I mean, I am barely old enough to be President, for goodness sake!

So I’ve been thinking—I’m not old, but I’m not young…

I think I’m middle aged!

That’s supposed to mean it’s time for my “crisis”, right? At some point around now I am to realize that I’m further into my life than I have remaining ahead of me. A reflective overview of what I’ve accomplished—and what I’ve not accomplished—is to set me into a spiraling tizzy, ending with the purchase of some wild vehicle, or some other wild (even scandalous) adventure.

I can’t emphasize enough how much that is not going to happen. 🙂

For me, this probably mainly stems from my lack of personal ambition or other such motivations. I’m not sure if that’s the only thing that would push someone into a mid-life crisis, but it seems to me unfulfilled expectations might do just that.

What I do know is that it’s pretty odd here in the middle.

Some days I think I want to be old. I want to fast-forward through today’s tough parts, and maybe enjoy the fun parts of being a grandpa. Perhaps enjoy the fruits of all the years lived and wisdom gained. There are certainly benefits to being aged.

But there are advantages to still being young, too. (Which I do admit, I am quickly leaving behind.) My body can still keep up with my inner athlete. Running continues to be an enjoyable activity, and I love playing sports with my older boys (who are now old enough to keep up with me!)

Youth is still part of me, but beginning to show signs of departure. Age is coming, but only still on the outskirts of my view.

I’m right in the middle, enjoying bits of both worlds.

And I hope to remember, for as long as I remain here, that this is the place I’m meant to be. Right now. Right here.

Right in the middle.