"N" is for New

Grateful April in the A-Z Blogging Challenge

I have no choice today--I must write. I took my mulligan yesterday for "M" so, although this task has turned out to be much harder than I initially expected, I will force myself to push through. My "N" word could easily be "None" or "Nada" and I could go about my other writing and editing tasks. Alas, I've committed to this blogging challenge. "N" isn't an easy letter, at least for me, so I have chosen a broad topic for today: New

New is not for new house or new car--although it became painfully clear yesterday that I may need a new car when my daughter's college psych instructor asked her if I was still driving the same white Expedition I drove when I was in college. Isn't that sort of like not realizing your house needs painting until someone else mentions it? I hardly ever consider my car, but he was right; however, my ability to drive cars until the wheels fall off is not the topic of this post. 

New represents rebirth, and we go through that many times in life. If we're lucky. Imagine what life would be if we never moved beyond junior high, if we were stuck with weird hair, braces, and awkward emotions for the rest of adulthood, too. Without rebirth and reemergence into new ideas, new people, new ages and experiences, we'd live in mediocre middle school, never evolving beyond gossip, trying to fit in, and no real direction in life. 

Well, that explains some people I know.

There is something great about turning 40, and although I'm a few years beyond that now, I still remember 40 as a turning point in my life. It was a new decade, sure, but for me, these have been years I've discovered more about who I am than all the other years combined. For the first 18 or so, I was a child living at home. From 20 to 40 years old, my life wasn't really my own because I had three children at varying ages that still needed their mom. But when I hit 40, a new attitude grew within me -- new business ventures opened up, and for the first time, I could do what I wanted without considering (too much) what everyone else needed from me.

Along with 40 also came the discovery that I can't please everyone. No matter how hard I tried, I was beating my head against harder heads. At 40, I learned that sometimes you need to cut your losses and move on to new people and new attitudes. After 40 I met new people, and they fit in well with the old ones who already love me.

The point is to embrace "new" anything. When I lost my dream job in 2008, I threw myself into a dramatic whirlwind of self pity: I would never find a job I loved as much, couldn't believe I would be starting over. I even looked at laundry as the enemy keeping me from a "big girl job." But if I hadn't lost that job, I'd have never started my new writing and editing business, which ultimately led me to my eventual ownership in haunted attractions, a new passion that I did not discover until after 40.  

Embrace the new. Don't be frightened to meet new people, join a club, volunteer. In my faith, I never know what God has planned for me through new opportunities. Sitting in a Starbucks three days ago, a 70-ish year old woman walked up and asked about my computer--did I like it, would I recommend it, etc. Because of my history of strangers talking to me, I braced myself for something new and wonderful to happen. And it did.

"You're a Christian, aren't you?"

"Well, yes…" I smiled. "I am."

"I know. I saw it as soon as I walked in. I could tell. It shines from you."

I smiled and said thanks, but I didn't believe her. It shows on me? Surely she saw my cross pendant. I reached up to touch the cross I wear around my neck, but it was hidden under my shirt. She must have seen what God wanted her to see because she was settling in for a chat. I put my editing work aside and smiled.

The beautiful woman and I visited for the next 45 minutes. We talked faith and God, and it turned out that she'd just lost her husband. She was lonely, it was clear, and she wanted to talk. Before she left, she asked for the name of my hairdresser (she wants to do something NEW!) and my contact information so she could reconnect with me again after she buys a computer. 

What's the significance? God continues to bring new people into my life. For her, maybe she found a person to talk to who was interested. Maybe she will contact me again or maybe she won't. I won't know if anything "new" will come of the experience for me, but sometimes it isn't about us. Sometimes we are put in situations just. for. someone. else.

The point is that I embrace the new, good or bad. When my business partner died suddenly in December, it left me alone and wondering what I was going to do with our haunted attraction. But even then, in the middle of pain, I had to embrace the new because it was all I had. He wasn't coming back, so I had to trust that God has other plans. I was directed to the following scripture, and it came to mind today as I was writing this blog:

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."

I am trusting that He is doing just that--making a way in my wilderness. He is doing something new just as He promised. And I'm ready.

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