There are new beginnings all around us all the time – only sometimes are we aware of them.
In the western world we celebrate New Year’s Day as an occasion to make resolutions on how we will be better in the year to come. Each year we have a birthday, when we can look at what we have done in the past year, and sometimes decide to make a new beginning. It is the same with anniversary dates – a wedding, or a date that we did such and such, or the date that some great event happens. How many sentences start with “do you remember what you were doing when you first heard – - – -”.
Whilst these can be good occasions to review our lives, they are more often just times when we say that we will change, but without any real determination to do so. Many of us make the same “New Year’s resolutions” year after year, and know inside of us that we actually do not have the real desire to change. Birthdays and anniversaries can become times when all we do is look back – either with regret that things have changed, or to live again those past times, which can never actually come back.
In fact, we start each day new.
Each day is a new one, each day we can go forward, or go back. And these daily decisions are not all going to be world shaking. But each new day takes us along a path.
Sometimes, when looking back we can see that on one day we did something new that totally transformed our lives. But more often, each new decision, each slight course correction, builds on the previous one, and like a giant liner on the ocean, we slowly head in a new direction.
What the big occasions – the New Year or the Birthday – give us is an opportunity to stand back and review where we are. And sometimes we get the opportunity to take a time out – as when going to a retreat or sanctuary. These times of reflection are well and good, and it is only by seeing where we have come from that we can really chart the way ahead.
But equally important is to look ahead, to see the new horizon and the new paths that are opening up in front of us. We can stay where we are, but to grow as human we need to take a new step every day, every moment.
There is a new world waiting for us each day; let us take the opportunity to make it a better one.