Always, We Begin Again
I love this wonderful and poignant phrase that comes from the writings of 6th-century monk, St. Benedict. Especially at the start of a new year, we are reminded that we are presented with countless opportunities for new beginnings.
Losing weight, getting out of debt, exercising, reading more books, learning something new, etc. are certainly worthy goals. (They always make it on the top of my list!) But, perhaps, in some ways to begin again requires we start from a new place. My sweet and insightful daughter-in-law wrote these equally poignant words:
As we list our resolutions
And fine-tune our goals,
May we make space for grace
And tending our souls.
As we consider the question, “How do I want my life to unfold?” perhaps we should include goals that regularly and directly engage our hearts and opens our lives to a work of grace. Like all our other goals, however, cultivating a well-ordered soul takes intentionality, practice, and time. But, like everything else, to do so allows us to live in ways we want to be alive.
Here are some ideas to consider adding to your list for the year:
Move slower (This is harder than you think!)
Be kind in your words…always. (Even on social media)
Say “Thank you” more often
Forgive completely (and quickly)
Listen more than you speak (This was my goal this last year. So life-giving to others.)
Forge a new friendship
Be kind to yourself
Don’t fill up the “pauses” (Resist the urge to pick up your phone; enjoy the sacred moment)
Look with new eyes at your pain and loss
Create space for reflection and listening to Jesus (10 minutes a day?)
Live generously (in all its facets)
Look for the good in people (if you can’t find it, take them to coffee)
Let go of bitterness
What might you add? What is God stirring in you? You won’t do it perfectly (which is never the point), but it’s more important to start.
In context, here are Benedict’s words: “It is for us to train our hearts to live in grace, to sacrifice our self-centered desires, to find the peace without want, without seeking it for ourselves; and even when we fail, always we begin again.”