A couple of days ago, we said goodbye to spring in the Land Down Under. Though summer is grand, spring is my favorite season.
I tend to get a bit philosophical in the spring, when the air is filled with the fragrance of wisteria. Walking my dog in the early morning, listening to birds hover noisily over their young, I think about the beauty of nature and the wonder of renewal. One spring morning, I discovered a couple of plants in the garden I'd completely forgotten about that seemed to have popped up out of nowhere.
Renewal is an exciting concept. The Bible says that the Lord's "compassions" don't fail, that "they are new every morning" (Lam. 3:22, 23). That says to me that God is constantly conferring blessings on us, regardless of who we are or where we are in life - or in the world.
Another aspect of renewal is changing, starting over. It is positively liberating to think we can change our course whenever we're so inspired.
Lots of people launch into entirely new careers after spending years doing something else. Some folks return to school for a degree after their kids are grown. In the same way, we can change old habits, regardless of how ingrained we think they've become. We can become more thoughtful of our spouse, more patient with our neighbor, and can strive to reach out and love the world more. We can drive more carefully, learn a new skill, become more punctual. There's no limit to what we can do if we're inspired. And inspiration comes from listening to God. Our Father-Mother is always there to guide us.
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper, once wrote that "Love inspires, illumines, designates, and leads the way" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 454). The word Love is synonymous with God, indicating the nurturing, caring, mothering aspects of Her nature.
Some time ago, I recall sitting in my small apartment on a long holiday weekend, wondering what I was going to do to entertain myself. I'd failed to make plans, so there I was, staring at the four walls and trying to conjure up some activity. I knew I could be happy. I didn't have to be the only one not having a jolly old time during this holiday - God was infinite, and I could not be left out of Love. God was there to "inspire, illumine, designate, lead," through ideas that came to me.
The first thing I thought to do was rearrange all the furniture. That gave me a sense of accomplishment. Then something prompted me to go through a storage closet and do a bit of spring cleaning. To my surprise, I discovered a huge boxful of fabrics given to me by my mother. I'd carted those samples around with me for 10 years and had never actually gone through them.
The tapestries, silks, and velvets were so beautiful that I was inspired to make pillows out of them. I pulled my sewing machine out of mothballs, and by the end of the long weekend my apartment was piled high with pillows of all shapes, sizes, and colors, trimmed in some fringe I'd found rolled up in the bottom of the box.
My neighbor said they were so nice that I should try to sell them. And do you know - that's what I did! I took them to the office, and at lunch time showed them off to my co-workers. By the end of the first day back, I'd sold every last pillow (my boss even bought a few) and taken orders for more. I'd started a little cottage industry, and to this day am still creating arts and crafts as a hobby.
At any time in our busy or not-so-busy lives, we can sit quietly and turn our thought to God for guidance. Even while we're driving a car. This is really a way to pray for the precious inspiration that brings refreshment and renewal.
As with those plants in my garden that "magically" reappeared in the early spring, we can thank God, from whom we have infinite good that continually renews itself. "Creation is ever appearing, and must ever continue to appear from the nature of its inexhaustible source" (Science and Health, pg. 507). Springtime, wintertime, anytime - that source is God.
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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society