Saturday, April 19, 2014

Starting Again

It's quiet here. Almost 8, yet no one is up but me. The sun is already over the ridge of the barn and pouring in my kitchen windows. No sounds except the birds outside and the dishwasher shushing.

It's the kind of morning that makes you think you might just be able to start again.

My sister in law likes what she calls "Start Dates." On a date chosen in advance, she starts over fresh. Everything from cleaning her house to balancing her budget to painting her nails or exercising. A day to reset and reaffirm goals and aspirations. A day marked like a flag that going forward? Things will be different.

Start Dates are wonderful, but there never is just one. Not for her, and not for me and not, I'm sure, for anyone. We just don't work that way. Change happens a little bit at a time, a little bit over time. And sometimes you have to start and start and start again.

How many times have I said "Today, I start working out. I'll keep it up this time." Or "Today, I will stop eating sugar." "Today, I'll smile more at my kids." "Today, I'll work on appreciating my husband." Too many to count, and yet each and every Sunday I end up in that same pew we always frequent, confessing those same downfalls time and time and time again. Weakness is a marker of humanity. Even at our strongest, we're weak.

The strength to starting over is admitting that and having the courage to keep on trying, knowing that it's always worth it. Even if from the outset we're sure to fail. Knowing, always, that He's by our side and has us by the hand, encouraging us onward.

It reminds me of my many years in ballet class. Every day, the same exercises. Every day, the same teacher walking past, murmuring praise and corrections, sometimes even physically manipulating your body to where it needs to be - gently, yet firm. Sometimes stopping class altogether to focus on one weak spot you have, getting down on the floor with you and working with you until you get it. Day after day after day, starting over, trying again, learning sometimes painful lessons and gradually...things really do change. And glancing in the mirror - you can see it.

A Teacher, working with us to create Art in us - gradually moulding us into who He always meant us to be. Tirelessly starting again each and every sun-filled morning - and even on the cloudy ones, too.

Longing for Easter morning, ready to start again.

{The dancer pictured above is my sister Prisca. Beautiful inside and out.}

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