A New Day (February 2012)
Sometimes we need a change, a fresh start, a new beginning. I went to the hairdresser today. I sat in the chair and said, “I need something different.” She cut off several inches, gave it a new shape. Voilà, fresh.
This has been one of those weeks... filled with lost data, misunderstandings, and the like. I know you’ve had those times when you recognize God’s sense of humor--like you needed just one more thing to go wrong to top it off.
Sometimes we’re forced to start new. Like years ago when my brother’s house burned down and he was left with the bag of clothes in his car he had planned to give to Salvation Army. Or when my house was struck by lightning and we had to replace all the appliances. Or when I was diagnosed with Celiac and now have to eat gluten-free.
Sometimes we choose to start new. Like when I left the corporate world to focus on being a writer. Or when I responded to a wink on Match.com and said yes to my first date with Geno.
Starting new gives us a chance to catch our breath and see things differently. When we’re climbing a mountain, focused on the steep climb, it helps to pause and check out the view. Same mountain, same valley, but the view is different all the way up and down the climb. Stopping to look around helps us appreciate the journey. Seeing how far we’ve come renews our energy to keep climbing.
Starting new gives us hope. My son, Alexander, didn’t like the outcome of his basketball game. He practiced harder this week. His coach gave him a new way of thinking about his offense. Alexander is looking forward to trying it out in the next game.
As writers we know our readers can only take so much conflict, drama, suspense. Then we need to start a new scene, a new chapter. Sometimes, when changes are really big, we give them a sequel, a new book.
Starting new can feel good--that chance to catch our breath, to feel hopeful--and still contain uncertainty or self doubt. Will I like having bangs? Will sharing a new perspective resolve the misunderstanding or create new ones? If I try this new skill, will I score in the next ball game?
In my children’s novel, Perch, Mrs. Sackets, and Crow’s Nest, ten-year-old Andy needs a different perspective. He’s uncertain too. His mom has brought them to Grandma’s house in upstate New York for the summer. They are planting flowers at his dad’s grave:
“Mom, what are we going to do all summer? I don’t have any friends here. What’s it going to be like when we go back home?”
Mom set down the bag of mulch and sat back on her heels. “Andy,” she said, “Our lives are like novels. The first book didn’t end the way we thought it would, but it was still a really good book.”
She brushed her hands on her jeans. “Now we begin the second book,” she said. “There will be some of the same people in this book, but some new characters, too. We don’t know what will happen next or how the story will end up, but what fun would it be to read the last chapter first?”
She picked up a few stray pieces of mulch from the grass. “The best part of reading a good book,” she added, “is seeing the story unfold, page by page, chapter by chapter, even with all its surprises.” She leaned over, kissed my forehead, and smiled. “We can still suggest edits to God along the way.”
This week hasn’t gone the way I’d like. But I do have a new hard drive on which to save new files. I did resolve a misunderstanding and learned a few things about myself in the process. And I have a great cast of characters in my second book.
Last night, Alexander said, “Mom, the good news is every day is a new day.”
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