Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Starting Over

One of the most remarkable aspects of life is that it gives us so many opportunities to start over. In a myriad of situations and circumstances we are given the privilege of leaving the past lie where we left it. Some of us never avail ourselves of those opportunities, and continue on down the same old tired road we’ve been walking for going on forever. But some recognize the openings we are given and take full advantage of their generosity. Whether it be an unkind word we spoke to someone yesterday, a dishonest interaction, a fight with a friend or family member, or even a promise we let ourselves down over, there is always an opportunity to begin again. Sometimes it takes an apology, sometimes some serious self-examination, sometimes a behavioral U-Turn, but there is redemption in front of us every day, extending a hand in our direction like an old friend reaching out to help us across a perilous, but familiar ravine.

It takes only an observation of the natural world to be aware of, and encouraged by, this extraordinary phenomena. I do much of my writing in the morning, at my desk at an upstairs window that looks out over the treetops, across a beautiful oak-studded valley. It is impossible to take in this view, as the new day awakens, and not be affected by the wisdom of its voice. Light born out of the darkness, new out of the old, warm out of the cold. It sings of new beginnings, of new attitudes, of graceful, and grateful, approaches to all that lies ahead today. For me to not hear this voice would be like a condemned man not hearing the Warden announcing that his sentence has been commuted.

There are primitive cultures that regard the morning as the beginning of life. We have a tired and worn cliché in our own culture that say’s “Today is first day of the rest of your life.” We’ve seen it on bumper stickers, greeting cards and posters. We’ve beat it to death with overuse, never really understanding its full meaning, coming to view it’s sentiment simply as cute, but trite. It’s become ignored along with every other profound thought that found itself stuck on someone’s car, or refrigerator. But it is what nature teaches us, and it is the liberation that enables us to move on from the shortcomings and failings of the day before. It is the opportunity for a new beginning, and ought to be considered as such.

The sunrise offers hope, and another chance to get it right today, or at least to get it better. In the evening the sunset brings a time for reflection on the day gone by. These are the most glorious, and most profound, moments we are given.

What if each of us embraced them like a lover?