By REV. DR. BRIAN GIGEE
“On Starting Over”
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” -Isaiah 43:18-19
Some days are better than others. Same goes for some years. Sometimes it feels like an unanticipated wandering into a desert… not on the ’to be discovered’ list that day. Other times someone rocks the boat… it tips, and you fall into the water… without a life preserver… and finding the river is swift. Then there is that day when you feel like you’re just a few steps from the end of the rainbow and the pot of gold is in reach! Some days are better than others. Sure. Yesterday was a good day. Last year? Not so much. Maya Angelou once wrote… “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” Ahh… what heart… Maya maintained!
I believe as many others do… our quality of life is not determined by the things that happen to us… but rather by our response to those things which happen. And coupled with a faithful trust in the one who created us and in the hope that goodness always awaits us… is how we get to start over… every day. We’re not alone. The first man and woman needed to start over. Noah did as well. And don’t forget Job following more trials than you or I would desire… or King David who got a hall pass from God to remain on the throne even after being caught as an adulterer and an accomplice to murder. They weren’t alone either. It seems God is the king of ‘do overs’ and ‘second chances.’ Peter got his. Saul of Tarsus did, too, with a new name as we remember him now as St. Paul… apostle of apostles and by his own acknowledgement… ‘chief of sinners’. We don’t hear of many folks these days claiming that title. And the list of those who have experienced second chances throughout history is an entire chapter in hope! Think Washington, Lincoln, Sam Houston, David Crockett and more recently, Joe Biden on the American front. And what people do with their opportunities to start over makes all the difference… knowing always… time will tell. Faith does matter!
When I write them all down, I have a pretty good list of moments I started over and grasped that second chance. School. Sports. Marriage. Work. Friendships. Some do overs came because I chose to and some because they were chosen for me. After all, Little League baseball ends at age 12… but I played softball from age 14 to 60 until the fun wore off and the knee pain increased! So, starting over isn’t about going back and claiming what was… starting over is moving forward embracing what hasn’t been and watching that moment become real. And if it doesn’t? Well… then there just might be another chance to start over again. And why? Because God has provided each of us with enough grace to pause, assess and plan for that which is to come. In the church this is known as ‘confession and absolution’… and in the world of GPS and travel it is known as ‘re-direction’… an admission that one is going the wrong way and needs to find a new path…
God is always wanting to help us do a new thing as I‘m certain… at least according to the Bible story… God is never content with leaving things just the way they are or just the way they seem… In Hebrews 8:12 we read… “For I will be merciful toward their mistakes, and I will remember their sins no more.” Think about it… God… willing to pick us up… dust us off… to point us in a new direction… away from life’s deserts and swift rivers… grabbing hold as we stumble and fall… over and over and even over again…
The Rev. Dr. Brian K. Gigee is a long-time resident of Pearland, having pastored four churches over the last four decades in Texas and Louisiana. You can read more following his blog ‘murmurings’ at https://briangigee.wordpress.com/. Comments and / or questions can be sent to [email protected].