Every year we see the human response to the need for a new beginning. The revelry, often loud and comotion-filled, seems to hide the deep need of all human beings to begin again, in one way or another.
For me, I find that reflecting over the last year is mostly "magenta" in nature. It is ripe with fruit from my life choices; however, each memory provides varied tastes. Some are bitter, some are better, some are just not what I thought they could be. This is ok. It is all part of a progression of my, and our, human development. It is also a reminder, at least for me, to discern the power of my faith that things work together for good, even when I don't understand it all. Sometimes at all!
This year the better fruit has exceeded the bitter. I am grateful. However, just a quick expanding of focus on older memories and relationships recalls years that some fruit is better but not yet ripe. I believe this survey of life is like my garden of life and how it grows.
Again, I find myself seeking a gardner that has attained much better results. This seeking often leads me to consider my chosen faith as a source of finding hope as I discern ways to better the fruits of my life in faith, my life, and my service to others.
In my faith tradition, I return to scripture as the source of better understanding myself, my failings, and my potential as a human being.
In John 20:11-18, Mary is crying outside an empty tomb. In her mind, something has happened to Jesus that was not expected. His grave is. empty? She does not know where His body is but her mind battles with the hopefilled promises she experienced in His presence and the reality that this day is not as she expected to be. In her confusion and distress, she was getting ready to leave, perhaps she was ready to give up and go back to her former life - bitter.
However, she is abruptly met by someone there at that empty tomb. It was Jesus but she somehow she fails to notice Him. Perhaps, she (so much like myself) was so self-absorbed in memories she was overlooking the full possibility and potentially of the present? An unknown Jesus asks her, "Why are you crying; who are you looking for?" (Mary must have later recounted the story with the other disciples that she thought it was the gardner as this is what is written in John's version of the Jesus story.)
Next, Jesus has to use an exclamationary tone to get to Mary when he says, "Mary!"
I had overlooked this little exclamation point in previous readings; however, I now discern that, I too, may require a bit of a raised voice to be shaken from my natural desire to condemn my life based on my expectations of how I think it should grow.
Mary is elated when she discerns this sterness is coming from Jesus her "Rabboni," or her teacher! Jesus' increased tone is required as Mary is inconsolable in her thoughts of days gone by and her fears to face the future with hope despite the many times Jesus told her to fear not and live as he showed her.
Jesus tells her "not to cling to Him." One must assume something was happening that we can not fully understand with His "ascending to the Father." While this ascension contemplation formerly caught my attention, it was the "don't cling to me" that somehow grabbed me in my heart this morning. Jesus seems to say "let go and go." Perhaps, let go of what you expect and go into the future with the hope I have promised?
This new thought (insert "revelation") created a contemplation of change. If I am I clinging to a Jesus that I formerly knew in the previous pages of my life based on what others told me, how do I follow Jesus as He leads me? Is my lack of hope and expectant joy result of the things I hear or the One that I know?
Scripture's narrative, over and over, reveal God's great love to create and renew one's expectations. Repeatedly revealing a hope-filled, new beginning despite all circumstances and challenges for those who believe in Him and follow His example of the Law of Love.
How had I overlooked the Gardener's work in my own life garden, yet again? The pruning always delivers the new growth. It may be uncomfortable at first but the fruits of this work delivers transforamtional and abundant life garden results especially when I release my expectations of how it should be!
As I reconsider the better, the bitter and the bland fruits of my life's garden at this year's end, do I need an abrupt exclamation to continue my faith journey? Or, am I increasinlgy hopeful and trusting the pruning as I grow more fully receptive that the Master Gardener is working even when I do not know what to expect. I find great joy, hope, and purpose in His perfect gardening in my heart - now with more glee - as I release expectations and seek His serenity and peace! As I consider Jesus' words to "stop clinging and go" I find a deeper resonance with the Serenity Prayer:
God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
and the courage to change those things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference!
As this next chapter of life and work unfolds for us all, it is our passion-filled purpose at PLOOF.org to serve you as you tend the garden of your heart. If you seek someone to walk with you on your journey to release the errors of expectations for a life of passion and purpose reach out to us.
You are NOT ALONE in this life journey unless you choose to be!
May 2020 lead you to a better vision of your self-understanding that reveals your passion and your purpose which is always for the service of others and brings newness of life and a peace that the world fails to provide!
NEVER give up; You can always "Believe & Begin Again!" Our passion is serving you to do just that!