Watching my youngest son's high school graduation, I was feeling unsettled. I was happy for his achievement and the prospects of his going to a college just right for him. I knew I would be all right in my post-motherhood phase. But something was niggling at me.
A voice in my thought was asking: "Is your future as bright as your son's?" "Ouch.... No," I admitted. My future felt like resignation, like appreciating a good situation, but not really expecting anything but business as usual, with somewhat fewer trips to the grocery store.
I had some thinking to do. Life is not boring. In fact, Mary Baker Eddy wrote, "Love alone is Life," and love isn't boring. Love is precious, joyful, and full of adventure. To feel God's love moves us, sometimes slowly, sometimes fast; but there is no stagnation in Love. It involves engagement with life that brings new thoughts and perspectives and meaningful connections with others.
During the next three months, I listened carefully for ideas about my "commencement." When the idea came, it was spontaneous and clear: Sell my house in the suburbs and move downtown.
Within another four months, the house was sold and a new condo purchased. That sequence - the expectancy, the listening, the willingness to move as each idea surfaced - I don't want to forget. These are the qualities of thought that protect us from a jaded sense of life, the sense that would say the New Year isn't new but just the same old, same old.
How can we cultivate expectancy? How can we trust new ideas when they come along? All these things have to do with understanding the depth of God's love for His children.
The willingness to listen for new ideas is based on the fact that God communicates to us. God is the infinite Mind, the source of all true intelligence. To listen for new ideas is to exercise the privilege of seeing life from a wider viewpoint. Sometimes this results in the discovery of new talent, but it can also come in new ways of approaching our work, cleaning the house, or inviting a friend to do something.
The expectancy that new ideas will come to fruition comes from the knowledge that what God communicates to us is intended to bless us. Somehow we fall into the mistake of thinking that what God requires of us is not fun, let alone satisfying. How God would laugh if He could know this ignorance.
Over the decades one thing I have learned is that as much as I think I know best what will make me happy, God always has a bigger and better provision. We can believe in this benevolent power by simply noticing the good that asserts itself over and over again. If we acknowledge the divine power that returns the sun to us every morning, for example, we will come to reverence the God who is more than an appeal board for our latest whim. The courage to make decisions based on new ideas is anchored in the fact that God is an ever-present, ever-loving, and protecting power.
The fear of making mistakes can thwart new opportunities. The test of whether you believe that God governs life is whether you believe He governs even when someone makes a mistake. What gives courage to endeavor is the confidence that a purely motivated idea is protected by God. If there is a misstep because of ignorance or fear, or a good idea's time has not yet come, God's grace makes the adjustment by helping us see and commit to the good. No matter how great the disappointment may be, God's love is greater and shows the next step forward.
As much as the human mind resists change, the human heart longs for freshness, discovery, and new horizons. This isn't an excuse for restlessness, but it points to the resilience and joy of God unfolding Life irresistibly. The Apostle Paul prepared his students for the changes that would accompany their life in Christ. He directed them: "Put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind ... that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (Eph. 4:22-24).
Newness is a word about our origin in the infinite God. It is natural for us to revisit our origin. And with it is the promise of receptivity to the full blessing of being God's child.