Listen to this episode of the Focus With Marlene Podcast
Every day, we observe the wonders of our world and the transformations that happen throughout the seasons.
Who hasn’t been renewed and refreshed by a cooling summer’s rain or been moved by the beauty and quiet serenity of an earth blanketed in mounds of downy snow or snowflakes that shimmer like diamonds in the winter sun?
Who hasn’t witnessed the peace of a countryside bathed in the light of a full moon?
And what person hasn’t marveled at stars so dazzling and vivid, it seems we could reach up and touch them? At such times, nature is silenced and time suspended.
And yet, the snow is only frozen water, and the sun, moon and stars are nothing more than hardened, desolate, uninhabitable rocks and dangerous gasses.
Misfortune and hardship can take us out of what was predictable and comforting and place us in unfamiliar territory.
We don’t know what to expect and are temporarily thrown off balance. It changes our perception of what we think life ought to be.
Our future looks dark and dismal and the world of sunshine has become colorless and grey. The refreshing summer rain becomes an intrusion on outdoor activities. We see the falling snow as a hazard to driving; and we don’t even notice the sky full of twinkling stars as it is overshadowed by flashing neon lights.
Our night-time activity is so encompassing we never stop to look up and see the beautiful full moon or observe how it turns the earth into an exquisite and ethereal landscape. The beauty of the world has suddenly been transformed into a nuisance – annoying and irrelevant.
- What transforms your world from one image to another?
- Has the world itself changed or have you changed? And does it matter?
Disasters can so alter our perception of life that we no longer see blessings or anything of beauty or goodness. It’s as though we put on dark sunglasses that completely obliterate anything positive and encouraging. And in our desire and haste to find a new comfort zone, a new predictability, we look for the quickest solution that comes along, good or bad.
In the midst of our world that has been turned upside down, it is possible to pause, take off those dark glasses and see God’s creation and beauty that surrounds us every day? In that pause and reflection, we are reminded that God is still with us and in charge. He has not abandoned us and continues to reach out to us in many ways. In that pause, we become aware of the kindness of a stranger, the helping hand of a friend, or the encouraging words of the Psalmist.
The mystery of life is constantly unfolding around us, from the green shoot pushing up through the dirt to the developing baby spiders clinging precariously to the edge of their web. We brush them aside as a nuisance before we have had time to consider what it would be like without them. But to experience that wonder, we first need to observe.
Good things can come out of tragedies, misfortunes and adversities.
As we pick up the scattered pieces of our lives, we can reassemble them into a new, broader and more comprehensive picture. It is where we develop the muscles and strength to live a more meaningful life.
We will struggle with our losses. We will hesitate to start again because we are not sure what we want to do. While a new possibility may excite you, you are not sure whether it will continue to hold your interest.
So, grab a cup of coffee or tea and think about where you are right now.
- What can you bring to your landscape to transform it into something refreshing, positive and relevant at this point in your life?
- What are some things you have always wanted to do but never had the time?
- Can this be the time to experiment?
- Can you identify the things that energize you?
- What is stopping you from doing any of these?
I am sure you have explored this before, but I encourage you to do it again. Start a My life Planning Notebook and write down all the things you see yourself doing. Include the hopes and dreams you had as a child. Be expansive – don’t prejudge. Just write them down. Later you can go back and begin to prioritize or eliminate.
We need validation for the turmoil of thoughts and emotions we experience. But we also need the tools necessary to create a new beginning that is both satisfying and meaningful. My new book, Learning to Live Again in a New World, offers those tools to help work through the problems you might be facing.