Doing a New Thing
“Don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I am doing a new thing! See, already new paths in the wilderness and streams in the desert are bursting out.”
This passage from Hebrew scripture slid unbidden into my brain early this morning as a very loud bird outside my window wakened me. My room faces a big green natural area where the ash tree has grown so large it nearly touches the 3rd floor porch railing. I always sleep with the window open so I can hear and see what’s happening in the meadow--thunderstorms, coyote pups, Red-tailed hawks learning to fly, finches flashing gold between the branches--and I thought I was well acquainted with all the usual players.
But something new is happening. A tiny House Wren with an operatic voice begins singing 20 minutes before sunrise. Curiously, this all started at the solstice, though I’m uncertain that birds understand the calendar as we do. Before that it was the chickadees, house finches, and nuthatches who sang up the morning. But this little fellow--what the heck! He is just fortissimo all the time for hours every morning! And then I realized the person living above me on the 4th floor has hung a bird feeder on his porch and all kinds of new things will keep on happening.
And isn’t that just like the rest of life? When I think I understand my reference points, my capabilities, and the plan for the day or the week or the years until retirement, someone tosses an unanticipated piece into the mix that changes the game entirely. In the Isaiah passage above we are encouraged and confident because the change agent is God. We don’t know how it will work out but we know it will, because we have learned to trust God’s moving in our lives. But maybe our next life task is learning to trust all kinds of change, and not to equate new with scary or dangerous but to learn to trust our own wisdom in responding.
We don’t know what’s coming next and we never will. But when I notice my body breaking down, culture changing at the speed of light and the world all but tipping off its axis, I’m going to try practicing courage instead of letting anxiety or anger rule me. There are so many new things happening, things I can’t manage, changes I can’t control. And that is not a disaster. It is an opportunity to trust myself to know how to respond, what to do. To recognize my deep personal power and use it carefully, prayerfully, in this always-changing world. To be part of the good ripples and to step forward with grace onto the new path that will certainly emerge in my own wilderness.
Blessings for courage in times of change,
Eileen J Terry
Read more about Eileen here