To Begin Again

Trust and start walking.

We are not alone in the dark,

our path will unfold as we move.”

Paulo Coelho

Facing the Dragons

Mary Pandiani,
Executive Director
Selah Center

Every morning I get up early, or rather LucyLu, my dog gets me up early, to take her for a walk. I don’t complain because I love the early morning hours when there are very few people on the street in our little downtown area of Gig Harbor. In the quiet, I listen to the daily lectio divina with Pray-As-You-Go; I watch around me for the light slowly appearing; and I feel the fresh coolness of the morning air. In these ways I’m able to begin my day in the awareness of God’s abiding presence. The walking integrates my body-mind-heart into a wholistic approach for what comes to me in this new day.

On this morning, I hear the phrase again and again in my thoughts, “begin again; let’s begin again.” The night before I didn’t sleep much with too many dragons coming at me in my sleepy semi-conscious awakeness. With concerns for family members and friends, other worries about what’s not working in the world, and general getting older aches and pains, I wrestle all night. Finally dropping off to sleep around 4:30am, I find myself awake again at 6:30am. Then the dog needs her walk.

That’s when I hear the phrase, and carry it with me today. “Begin again; let’s begin again.” The walking serves as a reminder that I’m walking into freedom each time I begin again. My body begins to move, despite the tiredness, it needs to move. My mind releases the pressing thoughts to allow for God’s expansive revelations. And my heart opens to possibilities, listening for the invitation to surrender whatever I am holding into the loving arms of God’s love and welcoming presence.

If I’m honest, none of my concerns from the night’s dragons are solved, nor will they be any time soon. But it does seem those overwhelming thoughts that kept me from sleeping have crawled to sleep into a dragon’s lair (definition: a place where a wild animal, especially a fierce or dangerous one, lives). For the day then, I can remember what it’s like to walk into freedom rather than fear. The walking keeps the memory alive of freedom, so that perhaps when I rest, even go to sleep at night, I can face the wild animals that scare me.

If nothing else, I can enter the next day where I can “begin again.” That’s what walking into freedom is – not that we don’t have worries, concerns that keep us up at night – but rather that we can begin again, regaining strength and perspective for a new day. While there are still dragons and fears, I can trust that even the lair – the cave where the dragon resides  – it is held in the mountain of God’s omnipresence. That’s the Who and where I hope and walk into the “let’s begin again.”

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