JUST PRESS ‘RESTART’

By Lisa Huddleston

I love beginnings! New class? Sign me up. New craft? Can’t wait to learn it. Anything involved with something new, and I’m your girl. So naturally–I love new years!

As I wrote in my last post, I made it through the holidays with no visible scars, and I actually managed to enjoy a lot of the events I was part of. Some of this surprising peace came about because I made quite a few changes this holiday season. And that is also the case with this New Year’s activities. Chuck and I rang in 2016 alone. We had some yummy snacks, some champagne, and a sweet midnight kiss, and it was great. No party, no guests, no fuss. (Although I think I would have been equally happy to have shared our time.)

And most unusual for me, I hadn’t really thought about any goals or resolutions for 2016 until I was in a yoga class on Saturday morning–that shows you how relaxed I’ve become. But in my class, the teacher asked us to hold our open hands in front of our hearts and to picture an idea or a word regarding the New Year resting there. In just seconds, I saw the concept of balance, an idea I have valued for a long time. I smiled to myself: balance and yoga do seem to go together. And so that was it–balance it is, and hopefully, balance it will be. Body, mind, soul, and spirit. I pray that I can find ways to make this vision a truth in my life.

starting-overWouldn’t it be cool if I could just press “restart” like we do with computers, and suddenly my life would operate exactly as I hope it would? “Restart” is a great concept. Even God has taken advantage of it! My designated reading for Saturday told me so. Genesis tells us that God’s new world “had become corrupt in God’s sight, and it was filled with violence. God observed all this corruption in the world, and he saw violence and depravity everywhere. So God said to Noah, ‘I have decided to destroy all living creatures, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. Yes, I will wipe them all from the face of the earth!'” (Gen. 6:11-13). God was ready to press “restart!”

It encouraged me to read this familiar story in a new way. It was refreshing to think that even God sometimes started the same work over in another way. I am not alone in this desire, and I can even hope to presume that God has set an example for me in starting over.

So that’s where I am right now. I’ve hit the “restart” button, and I am doing what I already know–and have known–to do when my operating system is working properly. Tomorrow I return to my work at the Adult Learning Center. I truly hope to continue my return to reading God’s word and to my practice of yoga and other physical exercise, and here I am right now returning to the reflective, spiritual practice of writing my thoughts in this blog.

Beginnings are very good, but sometimes restarts can be just as good. Happy New Year!

MONDAY MORNING

By Lisa Huddleston

Last Sunday we at The Village Chapel enjoyed a sermon delivered by Gilbert Lennox, the father of fellow-TVCer Kristyn Getty, one half of the current-day hymn writing team, The Gettys.  Pastor Lennox is a warm, gentle man who chose 1 Peter 1:1-12 for his text and spoke of hope in the future, present, and past.  A perfect topic for the New Year with encouragement to trust in the future of the Living Hope, rejoice in our present faith, and remember the history of God’s unfolding revelation in our world.  Very uplifting.  Very pleasant.  And very honest.

Pastor Lennox shared gorgeous photographs from his home in Northern Ireland–scenes that were too beautiful to be believed.  Trees with intertwining roots and branches.  Skies with richly painted sunsets.  Seafoamed and curved beach hugging the rocky island coast.  And he spoke of the decline of the church in his part of the country which he called, “The Bible-belt of Ireland.”  Although he spoke of hope with obvious sincerity, I typically focused on the more melancholy parts of his sermon.

Prone to taking notes throughout any talk and even to writing in margins of books I read, I naturally wrote curiosities that struck me alongside of the actual points of his sermon.  One phrase particularly stuck, and it is that image that has continued to roll around in my head.  As he spoke of our sure expectation for a Living Hope with Jesus Christ, the pastor reminded us that such a surety does not exist in our self-directed goals.  And then in reference to one of the rich sunsets in his lovely Ireland, he said, “And then the color drains from the sky.”

Yes!  That was the phrase that grabbed me so.  Always the color drains away!  I have tried to make my way in the world with passion.  At times I have been so steeped in it that I nearly lost myself.  And those have been good times.  As long as the excitement exists, the color remains.  But once I master the lesson or reach the goal or even get a slightly closer understanding of the mystery (whatever the passion is), I realize that it too has faded into gray.

At this time of year in the past I have been found making lists of resolutions, choosing a “word for the year,” or setting goals that have clear, obtainable steps.  This year I find myself blank.  I could follow through on the MLAS program I’ve applied to, but why do I want to keep getting degrees?  I could set a lofty goal like writing a book or running a marathon.  But why?  Aren’t those things just trying to put rouge on the gray cheeks of the truth?  A spoiled dilettante trying to fill her days and hours with “meaning?”  And the color drains.

More of You, Lord.  Less of me.  My Living Hope in 2013 and forever.  And tomorrow is Monday morning.*

*C.S. Lewis, “Meanwhile the cross comes before the crown and tomorrow is a Monday morning.”