It’s already March. It is not long ago that we commenced the year with new diaries, resolutions and commitments to shift priorities, change focus, create room for some things and ensure that others were not repeated. Where are we today? For many, the New Year’s Resolutions are a distant memory: how did we imagine these changes being worked out in our lives? Why did we believe it was possible? What stopped it from becoming reality? Human beings accumulate. One off events and happenings easily become regulars. Other events we hadn’t foreseen come on our plate and we add them, without ditching others. Easter is nearly here, and we wonder how some priorities didn’t reach conclusion.
The past week or so has been a time of letting go. When my computer’s hard drive crashed, I was aware of the backup program which would have minimised losses. Still there is work and photos which had for different reasons not been backed up and efforts to recover them have not been fruitful. I have resigned myself to letting go of these things and beginning again.
I am reminded of the author who produced a manuscript by hand, submitting it to a publisher for approval, which they received. Unfortunately the publisher lost what proved to be the only copy. What was left but for the writer to return to the table and reproduce the work. Of course it was not as it had been originally written – those words were lost. But in its stead a new work emerged, one which laid the foundation for a new future for the writer and provided much enjoyment for many readers. Who is to say that the new work was better than the old? The loss is great, but the possibilities for filling the void are greater.
When Naaman was diagnosed with leprosy, he found himself guided by a young slave girl to Israel in search of a cure. He was disappointed with the response of the prophet, who refused even to meet him. To wash seven times in the Jordan didn’t seem to meet the standard of seriousness required to effect a work of God. Urged again by his servants, Naaman finally submitted to Elisha’s advice and found a cure. But he had to let go of expectations and pride.
During Lent we are invited to fast – to let go of something – in order to realign our lives afresh with the God revealed in Jesus’ Christ. We might find it odd to consider a fast as a way to do this – it seems so simple. Yet in fasting we are letting go of something – creating space in our accumulated lifestyles – in order to make room for God to speak and act. (Seriously, how much room for him exists in our diaries and lifestyles?) By stripping back a little of our lifestyle, we create fresh space for God’s perspective, and God’s possibilities.
March 2, 2008