Spring Renewal

I like the word “renewal.” Like a library book, it can mean an extension of something enjoyable for a longer period of time. Spring is a time of renewal, when the flora and fauna are renewed: brown becomes green, bare becomes full again. Baby foxes abound; bird nests are full of activity. Blossoms poke their heads up, just to check out what colors everyone else is wearing this year…The sun lingers in the evenings, renewing warmth and beauty and hope for a sizzling summer.

I was looking for renewal for my own life last autumn, but it did not happen. Then, I searched for it in January of 2021, but it was evasive. A global pandemic and lock-down is not a good time to seek renewal. But gradually, like the daffodils and the tulips, I am growing. I am encouraged to pursue renewal as it presents itself in the little things in life. It has come with a renewed purpose in life.

What revives us? Old interests, old loves, old activities have been pushed aside for more critical matters, like survival in a confusing, challenging time. Remember when you used to play in rain puddles, and eat ice cream in a cone? Remember riding bikes in the cul-de-sac without helmets (but a few scraped knees)? Remember when lunch with friends was a peanut-butter sandwich on the monkey bars? Remember little-league baseball games, hot dogs and Gatorade? Life was fun, and simple. I desire to renew that laughter, that simplicity, that sharing with people the real joys of life. I would like to get past the antagonism, conflict, judgement, anger, senseless hatred and blame that pervades our culture. Continuing conflict and disorder pushes us down, boxes us in, and fertilizes the fear and anxiety that clouds our thinking. To “cancel culture” means to kill the good things, too.

To consider a new beginning with purpose is to see things with a new perspective. It is a reflection of what really wakes us up from the slumber of monotony and dullness. Last year, I had drifted into a time of “purposelessness.” I am not called to be the person I was 20 or 30 years ago, and that’s okay. I can see that our purposes in life change and morph. Plans are altered and even reversed. Drive, tenacity and commitments change, and we should not feel worthless at the demise of the past. Sometimes our lives need to be pruned of the past so that we can thrive in the future.

My personal example is this: I am a teacher; I always have been, and I figured I always would be. But I am not in the classroom anymore; I do not teach or preach as much as I used to. This bothered me for a while, until I realized that my teaching skills have been renewed into writing skills. Thoughts and ideas flow into a keyboard instead of a chalk-board. I have a big file cabinet full of teaching materials, mostly collected over many years of being a seminary student and a Bible teacher. I collected a lot of material from other scholars; but I also realized that an awful lot of my materials were written by me. So, I have been a writer for a long time; I have just morphed into a computer-writer instead of a ditto-machine writer. That was then and this is now. I need to purge all the needless, unnecessary parts (files) of my past life and look forward to the renewal of my role as a positive influence in the future.

Indeed, my primary purpose in life has not changed – it is to help and not harm others. With that in mind, what truly, causes growth and not termination for humanity? What builds people up, encourages them and overcomes the clouds of despair and indifference? Things can be simple, and they are limitless:

“Smile!” (behind your mask if necessary). People will wonder what you are up to.

Leave the wait-staff a big tip. He/she is working hard and trying to make ends meet. It will brighten his/her day.

Give compliments freely and generously. Compliments help you as well as the recipients. In the same vein, remember to say “thank you.” This is just old-school respect for others.

I have learned not to correct people, even if I know they are wrong (I was a former English teacher, and bad grammar gripes me…). I have learned to let go of blatant biblical misinterpretations and disrespect for God. He can change people better than I can. It has been said that “peace is more precious than perfection.”

My ego is not as brittle as it used to be. Relationships are more important than my ego. Forgive and seek forgiveness.

Each of us is responsible for his/her own joy and happiness. Government mandates can never make us happy. Stimulus checks do not guarantee happiness. Happiness and gratitude are choices, and they are always better choices.

The world does not rest on my shoulders; I cannot fix everything. God is in control, and it is his job to renew the world. If we listen carefully, he begins by renewing each one of us, every day.  Amen.

Author: Judy

Christian educator, writer, specializing in the New Testament

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