Monday, January 2, 2017

Begin Again

Now that we've turned the corner into another year, it's funny how so many folks are blaming 2016 for the current state of affairs.  They're really laying into the year as the culprit for all that has befallen this country and culture.  Of course it's a consequence of the election and perhaps the overall malaise that comes with the increase of violence both home and abroad.
It must be nice to have something as nebulous as a year to serve as an enormous hook on which to hang the ills of the world.  That somehow, now that it's 2017, things might get better.  Actually, there is something to that because it stems from the need to reset.
When we realize that this life we share is all about beginning again, it makes more sense.
Traditionally, we use January to re-boot our lives.  I'm not talking about the R word (resolution) but rather the shining symbol of change and a new start that January has become.
This year, in particular, we do well to remind ourselves that it is a healthy thing to reimagine ourselves as well as our lives.  Just as the rider who falls off a horse must get back up again as soon as possible, we all benefit from stepping on the image of failure or dismay and using it as a springboard to rise again.

That just might be the theme of 2017.  In the words of an old labor song, "every generation's got to win it all again," so too do we who feel trod upon by the current political reality.  We need to reinvent ourselves just a bit and re-imagine and re-define what we are willing to fight for.
Sometimes this starting over is a true test of patience.  That's as it should be.  While there is no guarantee that our waiting will yield more favorable results, there are many examples that it does.  I recall one in particular that I try to use for a helpful metaphor.  It's a fly fishing experience.  They often yield eloquent results.
I was fishing a small stream and came upon an interesting spot.  A large rock wall on the opposite bank provided a deep soft current and I was trying to drift a dry fly just the right distance from the wall.  To do that I needed to cast up and over a low hanging tree branch.  Of course, I tangled up a cast in that branch.  Badly.  Really badly.  The proverbial bird's next.  Part of me wanted to cut the entire thing off and re-string and begin again as soon as possible.  I didn't.  I decided to slowly and deliberately unsnarl the mess.  As I labored, I thought of how wonderful it would be to just be able to begin again.  I had managed to save the fly, which proved to be just the ticket for this time/place.  What resulted was the result I wanted, a beautiful rainbow trout who took the fly just after it soared over the pesky tree limb.  Releasing him back to the shady depths and exiting that stream, leaving it just as I found it, but with a story to tell was my gift.
In truth, we are all faced with the challenge to begin again all the time.

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