Friday, January 1, 2016

Thoughts on the New Year

I spent some time in my prayer room this morning  just looking out the window.  And this is what I saw:                  blue sky and grey and white clouds up above
                         the top of my neighbor's patio roof
                         power lines
                        the top half of a tree - with brown bare branches in front of a green fir tree

Not exactly the most beautiful view but something about it caught my attention.  The blue sky always grabs me - but it was almost a glimmer of gold that startled me.  As I sat there I thought - what was that?  And stared at the tree branch that was a dull brown.  Then suddenly for a couple of seconds it was gold.  Did I really see that?  And then I understood about the movement.  The changes from light to dark, from brown to gold.  It was the wind .  It was the wind moving the clouds  in front of and away from the sun. So that sometimes the view was bright and other times - just ordinary.

As I sat there I found myself thinking about changes and impermanence.  A new year 2016 and I am older, feeling the same but subtly changing.  Moving like the clouds in the sky. And if I am not changing everyone around me seems to be.  My children and grandchildren and this whole culture is one of movement and change, change, change.

I was stirred up this morning when I came to pray today.  I spent time yesterday and today undecorating the house from Christmas and looking for a certain  picture to hang on the fireplace and I couldn't find it.  I am married to someone who moves MY things, or hides them, or sometimes even throws them away.  And I want my things to be where I expect them to be.  You see, there are aspects of my life that I REALLY don't want any change.  I live with impermanence in my home that challenges me.

At the same time there really are aspects of my life that I want to have changed and they probably are not going to change for a while.  I keep saying to myself - "It is what it is."

Sometimes I think that where I want change, there is no change.  And where I don't want change there is too much change.  But of course, change is inevitable.  This is a picture of a Tibetan Monk beginning the destruction of an intricately created mandala.  It was beautiful but it was not meant to be permanent.   It reminds us that  life is a series of moments of  "letting go" as we face the reality of constant changes and impermanence.  Appreciating the beauty in the moment and not expecting it to last forever.

So Happy New Year to me
And my prayer is for serenity and peace and discernment
          to accept the things I cannot change
         to change the things I can
          to  have the wisdom to know the difference.
         to trust God's presence and love in the midst of all of it.

And hoping that 2016 I will embrace all of it - the light and the dark, the bright and the ordinary, the joy and the struggles.


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