we look in the mirror saying, ‘Who is that old person?’ while inside there’s pretty much the same person we always were.
A lot of stuff falls off – your vision, your youth, your memory – but better stuff is left behind.”
(Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith, Anne Lamott, pg 231)
I know this because I have witnessed it in many of the people I serve in the church where I work and in my own “private life” encounters. But I also know this is true by my study and love of nature. Early this fall I think I shared a photo taken of a tract of land on the right as I got off of 128 South onto Route 16 East to go to work. The area had been the site of piles of dirt, stones, etc. over the spring and summer and then was leveled, dirt was spread, and the area hydro-seeded. By late September the tract had been transformed: much to my delight the area had been seeded with cosmos! Everywhere you looked there were pink, white and plum flowers in bloom! It was enough to restore my faith in the highway department! Because I am a photographer, I stopped on more than one occasion to take some pictures. You may have seen one from my first outing.
I stopped again later in the fall. Here are the contrasting pictures I took. On the left is the blooming photo, and on the right, is the subsequent photograph. The residual cosmos might ask of the latter, “Who is that old [plant]?” A lot of stuff has fallen off but better stuff has been left behind, as Anne Lamott said. And so it is true with us – of our lives, where our old “stuff” of job or household management has fallen off; and of our bodies. In either case, the better stuff – dare I say the true stuff and all of its promise – is left behind.
I pray that you will greet the new year with this in mind: what appears to be lost is not…it is still with you, and will yet bloom again.