Scripture: Exodus 3:5
Ten years ago, I was a brand-new mother to boy/girl twins, and everything felt enormous. My love was enormous. My fear was enormous. My self-contempt was enormous. My exhaustion, enormous. The pile of empty Diet Coke cans, enormous. The babies’ beauty, enormous. The weight of how perfect it all was, just waiting for me to mess it up, enormous.
I could not cut a path through the extraordinary landscape. It was all just huge. And so I felt nailed to the couch, floating, in love and entirely anxious. Like I wanted to crawl out of my own skin. Of course, you have no idea what I’m talking about whatsoever.
It was in these very early days of motherhood that I read the line from the Rule of Saint Benedict, which transformed into not just a line but a lifeline and has been with me every day since those winter days over a decade ago: Always we begin again.
Benedict’s rule for monks called out the holiness of repetition, even the spiritual efficacy of it, though our culture preaches only the opposite. It gave a certain grace to beginnings.
Because that’s all those days were: one beginning after another. And let’s be honest, that’s what so much of life is—learning how, and learning how again, over and over.
Each day is brand new, after all. We’ve never lived this day before. It is certainly difficult to not get impatient, even contemptuous, with ourselves over our utter noviceness in life. And the difficulty of being new and inexperienced tempts us to become experts, or in some cases pretend we are experts, long before we actually are.
Beginning again is permission to be unaccomplished, to be a beginner, to be brand new. More than permission too, a sense that we are right where we should be and that the beginning space is actually a holy space, not just a layover on our way to something better.
Reflection: We can fall into the false belief that being a beginner is being a failure. What do you need permission to be unaccomplished in today? In what way is this in-between time a holy space?
Prayer: God, give me grace with myself as I tolerate being a beginner. I want to receive, not resent this time. I want to stand here open and willing, in this holy space. Amen.