Charles Dickens begins his novel, David Copperfield, “To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record I was born.”
Like David Copperfield, we all have birth days – the beginning of many beginnings. We begin to smile, to crawl, to walk, to go to school, to fall in love and the beginnings keep coming each one a wonderful event to celebrate.
But then, our beginnings become less celebrated. We begin to forget, to lose the precision of sight, to develop heart arrhythmia. We begin to tire more easily, to have arthritis, to live assisted by medications – all events we do not wish to celebrate. These beginning chip away at our confidence, optimism, adventure, and growth.
We have moved into a winter period of our lives.
The wisdom writer of scripture said, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”
Life is full of beginnings and endings; life is characterized by change, each season bringing with it beauty and storm.
The wisdom writer continued, “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come…” Our winter season is upon us; the days of trouble are here – days of aging, days of thinking our productive years are over.
I heard my son eulogize his grandfather recounting experiences with grandpa that shaped, and in turn, added a new dimension to my son's life. So in the midst of grandpa’s winter years, his trouble years, there was room for beginnings that shaped and challenged a grandson.
The Gospels record the story of Simeon, “righteous and devout.” Simeon in his later years never gave up faith in seeing the arrival of a greater hope. His, remembering his creator, his, not giving up hope allowed him in his senior years to hold the baby Jesus and be able to say, “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace for my eyes have seen your salvation…”
These past months have been full of trouble.
We have experienced isolation, witnessed our elderly die in disproportionately large numbers, witnessed children being able to connect with a grandparent or mother/father only through a windowpane or a cell phone link. Many of our seniors died alone, seemingly forgotten.
But, I am reminded of how William Wordsworth ends his beautiful poem, It is a Beauteous Evening with the line, “God being with thee when we know it not.”
The beginning of a new year brings the prospects of new opportunities. We have been born into a life of seasons. Each season of our lives evokes new ways of offering new beginnings.
Seize the day.