Last week, I talked with a friend and she noted that she’d been in a “blah mood”–but couldn’t figure out why. There were no new challenges, no worries at present about medical tests results for family or friends, nothing bad had happened. She could list things she was grateful for–but still felt her spirit was worn down.
I’ve thought about how the past year of the pandemic has made us weary. Even now, as there’s improvement with restrictions being lifted, vaccines being administered–we may still not be feeling a corresponding increase in energy in our mood.
Last November 24th, when I was in a low mood, wondering when things would feel better, I came across scripture verses that spoke to me. They were part of that morning’s devotional in Sarah Young’s, Jesus Always: Embracing Joy in His Presence:
“Forget the Former Things
Do Not Dwell on the Past
See, I am doing a New Thing
Now it Springs Up: Do You Not Perceive It?
I Am making a Way in the Wilderness
and Streams in the Wasteland.”
Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV
I’d been going through months of change and hadn’t seen anything new springing up in my life– not in the sense that would give me hope. But to think that something could be growing and I hadn’t seen it, hadn’t perceived it, gave me pause.
I’m the kind of person who’s always looking for meaning, for connection in my life. I want to join the dots from past events so that somehow when they’re all drawn together they’re a recognizable form.
When I started taking yearly solo journeys back in 2005, it wasn’t something I’d planned for my life; it just happened following that serendipitous trip to Sedona after breast cancer treatment. Four years after that first solo travel, the year I turned fifty, I decided to take a trip by myself every year. I did that up until COVID–so now there’s been a total of sixteen journeys. People would ask me why I took those trips alone, how I planned them etc and I really didn’t have a solid explanation. It’s just something that came forth from inside me; I never even realized I was that adventurous.
But over time, I saw that those trips that I planned and carried out had developed a confidence in me that I couldn’t see forming. It happened one trip at the time, it followed each journey completed. There was a ‘New Thing’ springing up in me that I didn’t perceive.
Confidence comes out of experience, and I saw that as I traveled to places in the US, Canada, and Scotland. Later, when I started taking dance lessons and my husband wasn’t interested in going, I saw the same phenomenon; I took one class after another, showing up at the Elk’s swing dance on Sunday nights–at first very awkward because I only knew a couple of people. It felt strange to go and ask guys to dance–most who were strangers. But like the solo journeys, I gradually gained confidence and saw how the love of music and dancing had always been inside me– just never realized.
I did not perceive that new thing springing forth in me.
Over the past months when I’ve read these verses from Isaiah, I’ve thought about my journeys and dancing. Now, I have a greater sense that sometimes things are developing inside of ourselves and we can’t see it; we’re too close up to perceive it.
When you go through a loss, of any kind, you need the time and space to heal. During the quiet of the pandemic there’s been plenty of time for me to consider the past– the forty years of my marriage. When I consider these verses, I think about how consumed I can be with dwelling on the past. “Forget the Former Things” can seem like an impossible directive when it represents so much of your lifetime.
Last week I pulled out a book that had been helpful in the past, Wayne Dyer’s Your Sacred Self: Making the Decision to Be Free. He notes that of the enlightened beings he’d met, the thing they held in common was they weren’t tied to the past. Dyer says, “They are free because they don’t rely on the way things used to be to define their lives today.”
I hold my past with gratitude, having a healthy appreciation for how all the events of my life have worked together. But, I do recognize that holding on too tightly to what has been keeps me from opening my hands and heart to what will be. Throughout the Gospel, Christ is focused on staying in the present–not jumping ahead filled with anxiety about an uncertain future, not sticking to the old order when a new way had come; Forget the Former Things.
To travel new territory does feel like stepping in the dark, trying to make our way in the wilderness–a place of uncertainty. Streams are provided in a dry and weary land, where there had been no water.
All things are provided through, “I Am.”
My thoughts float freely from this and I’m reminded of the need to just “Be.” While that New Thing is springing up, perhaps we cooperate with the process by just Being. “Be Still and Know that I AM–God.” Psalm 46:10 (NIV).
I don’t know if you’ve been in a blah mood, if you’ve felt a restless uncertainty as we approach the other end of this pandemic. I don’t know if you’ve sensed something new springing forth inside of you. Perhaps you’re too close to it to perceive it. Maybe someone who knows you well can see what you can’t.
My wish for you today, is that you will step back and see what’s being called forth within you. I hope you’ll feel wonder and delight as you realize the growth that has been hidden but now is coming to light.