Some times new is obvious … like the smell of a new car, moving into a new house, or starting a new job.
Some time new is subtle … like one month rolling into another, getting a new pair of sneakers, or opening a new bank account.
Whether obvious, subtle or somewhere in between, celebrating the new is a good practice, and a spiritual one at that.
This past week I’ve lived through many new moments. Maybe you have to.
Only a few days ago I dropped our youngest daughter off for her first year of college. New for her; new for me.
Today marked the first day of a new academic year, and the launching of a new day at our school. New presidential leadership and a new curriculum. New students starting; returning students entering a new world. New staff and faculty welcomed; all staff and faculty living in a new reality.
I have a new office, in a new building. This week brings a new routine and new set of “hallway conversations.”
Today I drove to work the same way, but in a new car. The same, but not the same.
And this evening I returned home where there was no “how was your first day of school” conversation at the dinner table. In fact, I ate dinner alone.
New is all around us: new jobs, new homes, new schools, new family members, new driver’s license, new calls, new chapter in your life, and new routines.
Newness is often accompanied with hope, but can also be connected to anxiety and uncertainty. Newness can be welcomed and smooth, it can be scheduled and planned, but it can also be disruptive, sudden, unsettling and “rock your confidence.”
Our new may be shared with a community or evident only to you. It may be private or public. There may be words to talk about how new impacts life, or it may be beyond words and only experienced in our gut.
Why celebrate the new? Because it matters! Just like I noted the importance of marking endings in a recent post, I think it is equally as important to celebrate the new. Why?
- Marking endings has an eye to the past. Celebrating new has an eye to the future. With an eye to the future new reminds us we are more than our past. Yes the past does shapes us, but we are not held captive to our past. This is both good news and bad news. As a great athlete knows, continuing to be “in the game” means showing up everyday. And showing up everyday is not only doing the basics, but includes trying new things and imagining new possibilities. In the moments of new we have a choice – to hold on to the past or to see a future on the other side. How does the new in your life provide the opportunity for you to see into the future? How does the new provide an opportunity for a bit of the future to come into your present?
- We celebrate the new because it reminds us we are “becoming” people. Think about it. Starting middle school or junior high is a moment of new. As scary as it might have been to start 7th grade it was just one in many steps from childhood to becoming an adult. Staying a kid isn’t an option, but how we move into the new is. Starting piano lessons or learning to ski are awkward at first, but stick with it and if we embrace the learning it can be fruitful. Over time, and with practice, we learn and move into our own way of becoming. We may or may not every become an elite skier or professional piano player, but learning, in and of itself, stretches and teaches us a variety of lessons. How does the new in your life remind you you are still a “becoming” person? How might you embrace those “becoming” moments?
- Celebrating new recognizes we have a God who makes all things new. Be it creating new or redeeming into new, God is all about making things new. So celebrating new is an opportunity to make room for God in our life, remembering and marking God’s activity among us in real time. Today, in a quick phone call with my new college daughter, she interrupted our conversation to share something with a someone in the room. I asked her who was there and your response, “a new friend. You wanted me to make friends, right?” What a welcome statement for this college mom to hear. How is God present in your new moments? How is God creating and/or redeeming in your life in the midst of new? Mark those moments with prayer.
Yes it is a season of new.
And yes we have a God who makes all things new.
Thank God for the new!