When Charles Fillmore, spiritual leader and author, was in his 80’s he committed himself to waking up every morning proclaiming: “ I fairly sizzle with zeal, energy, and enthusiasm; eager to do that which ought to be done by me today”. A new beginning every morning, letting go of the past and opening up to the world of possibilities. To be honest I cannot squeeze that out of my voice most mornings. Most of the time it is a humbling “ What do you want me to do today”. A new beginning with less enthusiasm but a willingness to co-create with divine energy. I am still working on it.
I spent a lot of my career in education working with children with labels, to use modern terms such as Intellectually Disabled and on the Autism Spectrum. Some of the most challenging times I had were with students on the Autism Spectrum. For them to change or start something new was often hell on earth for them. We would set up situations that would sabotage the normal routine of the day or activity and be prepared for the outburst and on occasion head-butts and kicks. I had one child who would spend the rest of the day reminding me in a repetitive mantra “ Change is Bad”. Often through patience and consistency we could get them to change but many times they would wear us down and we would have to rethink our strategy. A new beginning is not what they wanted to experience. The same old routine was fine with them. Most of us linger in that space in our minds often.
Many New Beginnings have been happening in my life and my family and friends lives. I am still working through adjustments of retirement where the choices can be overwhelming and old routines have to be discarded or adjusted. My oldest son got married to a beautiful young lady and both are adjusting to what the beginning of marriage can include. My middle daughter had her second child, a boy. The beginning of a life journey as a parent times two.
We have all gone through changes and new beginnings. Off to college or work, relationships that often broke up and broke us for awhile, death of loved ones, children born and children leaving for lives of their own, illnesses, aging, loss of jobs, and many other events that appear to be a blessing or a curse or both. We go through them in our own ways, hoping or having faith that it is part of our growth or we may even think it is a planned sabotage to move us to another part of our journey. With new beginnings we also learn, sometimes unwillingly, to let go of all the things that we no longer need and choose the ones that will be for our highest good.
Years ago someone handed me a tape with a song that had the lyric that had been taken from a book of sayings by John Shedd “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for. A ship in port is safe; but that is not what ships are built for. Our journeys ask us for us to venture out, to seek a safe harbor for a while but the time comes we have to hoist the sails and begin our new journey. a new beginning. Regardless of the rough or calm waters we may experience New Beginnings will also be a part of this journey.
Andrew Kelsay is a retired Exceptional Education teacher of 36 years. He is also the Program Director of Christ Unity of Chattanooga, Founder and Director of Charles and Myrtles (a weekly musical event) and cookie maker. He lives in Chattanooga, TN and is father of 5 children and grandfather of two.
Photo credit: Jason Carpenter