By Arlene Manson
It is 9 o’clock on a Monday night. This article- that I am only starting to write now- is due by midnight. In my mind, in my new beginning, I am going to be that person who always gets things done early. In my earthly reality, I am a procrastinator and I get things done, but always at the last minute.
When I think of beginnings, I think of starting or trying new things. One new beginning that I had this year was traveling for mission work. This past winter, during February, while Canadians were wrapped up in parkas and boots, I was half a world away. I will say that this was definitely out of my comfort zone. Even though I consider myself a flexible person when it comes to schedules and planning, going to India is on a whole different level. I found out very quickly that the way I plan here doesn’t give me the flexibility required for a trip like this one. You might have a loose plan in your mind and prep accordingly, but as you soon learn, you must just go with the flow and see how it all works out. The funny thing is that most of the time it all works out perfectly fine and you have learned something entirely different than what you thought you needed to learn. The mind of God is remarkable in that way, knowing what I need to learn and on a schedule all of His design.
India is a different world – the time zones, the food, the weather, the constant honking to pass people on said roads, and the sheer number of people in one place. But the amazing thing is that people are the same, wherever you go. There was the little girl in India that became my instant friend once she found out I had a cat and she so wants a pet kitty. It is incredible that someone can go halfway around the world and meet people that quickly become your friends.
Sometimes a new beginning is the end of something else. In March, in Saskatoon, we lost a dear friend in our congregation. Jackie Price was a person who lived through much adversity, but always with a genuine zest for life and appreciation of what God had given her. Her attitude of gratitude and her example of just always moving forward was an inspiration to us all. Jackie has taught me to face my adversities with grace and with humour. One never knows what life will bring, so one should live it to the fullest on a daily basis. Her life here on earth has ended and we will all miss her, but she has a new beginning in heaven, without pain and struggle, and for that we are eternally grateful.
We now live in an age of lifelong learning, where what you knew last year might not get you a job this year. New beginnings are everywhere and some are much more important than others. We live in a time of such rapid technological change that new beginnings seem to come constantly. How do we adapt to such a rapidly moving pace? The best way I have found is to know that God is all about new beginnings and giving me something to learn, which is important to Him and not just my schedule.
I think the Psalmist said it best: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). God can help you with your beginnings and help turn endings into new beginnings. We just need to stay still long enough so that we can hear His voice in the noise of life. The trip to India has ended for me, but I have acquired a host of new friends and connections. Jackie’s life on earth has ended, but her life is an inspiration to all who knew her.