The office building in Kalamazoo, Mich., where I work is a big, black cube of nine floors. The views to the west are of downtown parks, colleges, church steeples, and treetops shading residential streets. My office looks east.
I enjoy my view of the heart of our city, although for some years, as plants closed and businesses left, almost everything seemed to be in decline. As the city began to look for creative solutions to its problems, things started to turn around. For several years I monitored its progress through the demolition and rebuilding taking place under my nose. Kalamazoo's progress was featured on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" (April 22).
The result includes many restored buildings, some new ones that fit nicely with the old facades, a downtown movie theater, a community college offering courses in digital-game creation, a telephone exchange converted into condos with a wind turbine on the roof, and many other evidences of progress.
Following the most recent period of renewal, I see bright red brick everywhere. It's as though good ideas from the past are being cleaned, refreshed, and brought back into view. And this vision reaffirms the conviction that no idea is ever lost, whether it's of a building, a neighborhood, a business, or individual inspiration.
Prayer makes it possible to discover new ideas, to reclaim those that have been put aside, and to use both to better our lives. Prayer basically consists of making our best effort to know God better. It can be as simple as quietly listening to God, the divine Mind, who is the infinite source of all ideas. Anyone can make discoveries while listening to God.
An architect friend of mine who worked on several buildings visible from my window said that restorations create far less waste; whereas the waste from new projects is from demolition debris and new materials, the waste from restorations is limited to what can't be repurposed.
To renew is to make new again – to transform. The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Romans, implored his brother and sister Christians not to conform to the world but to be "transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God" (Rom. 12:2). Prayer that embraces spiritual renewal changes our thoughts as well, giving us hope and insights that stabilize our progress.
Mary Baker Eddy, applying this concept to healing, wrote that "the spiritual and divine Principle of man dawns upon human thought, and leads it ... to the birth of a new-old idea, to the spiritual sense of being and of what Life includes. Thus the whole earth will be transformed by Truth on its pinions of light...." ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 191).
As I watch and pray, my own town is being healed, transformed, and renewed. Our governor has described it as a "cool city." Standing at a corner, I can see in one glance my bank, my newsstand, a favorite restaurant, a friend's office, a green and shaded park. It's my prayer that the city continue to be ever more renewed and complete.