Tomorrow we will begin again,
New dew will form at the break of dawn
on grass that is ever so slightly taller
The first light will waken anew,
lifting open an awestruck eye
to the beauty it beholds
And the earth will be new, again
being healed and restored
as we slept,
will stir us into wakefulness
We will breathe our first breath
into the opening of the day
And we will be new, again
Our souls will remember
that we are damaged,
and not alone
We may come to accept
that wholeness arrives
not with resolution and fanfare
But with hearts humble enough
to forever begin
And all will be new
In 1999 Poet Brendan Kennelly published a poem called ‘Begin’ he writes ‘something that will not acknowledge conclusion, insists that we forever begin’. In 2012 songwriter Taylor Swift wrote a song called ‘Begin Again’. She sings of the contrast between being repeatedly broken and the joy in finding that despite this, when exposed to love and acceptance you cannot help but begin to live and love again. Both of these artists, different though they may to be one another, have captured something which has taken hold in my heart and I cannot shift. The insight that for life to continue we need to keep on beginning. Over and over.
Tricky this, because in general we do not welcome disruption or interruption, forcing us as they often do onto unchartered territory. At the very least entailing reforming opinions and redressing judgements. It can be hard to begin again, to draw a line between this and that. We knew ‘this’, ‘this’ is familiar. ‘That’, on the other hand, is generally the great unknown.
We are currently experiencing one big long disruption and interruption. An enormous line engraved in the sand. Making us reset priorities of time and relationships, recalibrating our inner and outer resources. Treating our success syndrome. Hoping our ‘love first’ kindness syndrome may be our prognosis instead.
The phrase ‘begin again’ may make something burn within you, a radical kind of yearning. To begin again, to upcycle something that is already established, or perhaps it is about to be. Beginnings like these are voyages, and so I remind myself of what Mary Poppins says ‘you are about to go on an adventure, don’t ruin it with too many questions’. Beginnings are exactly that, a beginning, it is likely not to look as it has before. We are unable to see very far ahead and certainly not beyond the horizon. Antoine de Saint-Exupery also knew this. He says, ‘If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea’. We stand on the shore, about to embark. The sea can be trusted, it knows well the patterns of beginnings, journeys and renewal.
Sometimes we begin again, not because we are forced to, but because we have been stuck somewhere and we have found ourselves utterly misunderstood, underappreciated, misrepresented and underestimated. There comes a time when stating our bottom line and shaking the dust from our feet is exactly the right move. To say enough is enough and being brave enough to begin again, because as hard as it is to do this, to stay is harder still.
Other times we may find ourselves looking at the idea of beginning again as unbearable because of great and searing loss. When we meet this, may our small, tentative, unwelcome beginnings be gentle and saturated with love. May the compassionate heart of nature be inclined towards us as we trust her healing touch, seen in the patterns of the earth, to tenderly renew our souls.
In the light of all this, I wonder if the idea of renewal, that everyday we get the chance to begin again at being us, is more hopeful than dreadful. Our cells renew themselves over and over. The seasons come and renew the earth. This summers flowers will not be last years. They belong to this years’ growth. Next year they will be renewed again. There is a hopefulness about this. The kind of hope I like to think of as Sister Stan describes it, ‘what is left when the bottom falls out of optimism’. A hopefulness that prevails because to begin again, stirs within us the possibility that as the sun rises again tomorrow it may dawn on a brave new world.