The snow started early in Michigan this year, sprinkling our conversations with constant commentary (i.e. grumbling) about the weather. Amidst the grumbling, there is one frequent comment that goes something like this: "I love the snow for the first couple of snowfalls each year--it's so beautiful. But by the time February rolls around, I'll be thinking about moving to Florida." This gets me thinking. What changes between November and February that causes us to no longer see the beauty of snow? The snow itself doesn't change. A snowflake is just as stunning whenever it falls, each miraculously shaped in its own unique way (how is that possible??!). If I take one photo of freshly fallen snow in November and another in February, there will be little difference between the two.
These types of experiences allow us the rare opportunity of seeing our experience through fresh eyes, of noticing old things (snow, hot showers, warm beds, walking...) as if they are new. Which, in fact, they are--no one moment exactly the same as another. (Need I point out the metaphor of the snowflake here?) To see these moment-to-moment, God-saturated, one-of-a-kind experiences for what they are. Miracles. Gifts. Life.
"Behold, I am making all things new" says God in Revelation 21:5. My pastor assures us that this new-making is not just something we are waiting around for until we get to heaven--it's already happening. In the here and now, God is making all things new. When I see life with active wonder...when I enter each experience as if for the very first time...I find that all things are indeed being made new. This snow flake, brand new--I've never seen this design before! This warm shower, brand new--I've never felt this one before! This step, brand new--what a miracle that my body is supported on my foot in this way, in this moment! This breath, brand new--what a gift, my body breathing itself without any conscious direction from me! This glass of cold water, brand new--how will this particular water catch the light or feel on my throat? All things, made new, moment to moment.
So I am practicing using fresh eyes, coming to each moment as if it is the first time I have experienced it...because it is. Surely this is part of what it means to enter the kingdom like little children (Matthew 18:3)--to be full of wonder and amazement as the world is rolled out before me, moment to moment. To walk the journey of life in the same way that a two year old walks down a sidewalk, stopping to notice and examine and experience each thing -- a stick! a leaf! a stone! a flag! To recognize that in each moment, I am experiencing something new that I have never before experienced--bringing freshness and openness to the experience in a way that allows me to live each moment of life as it actually is rather than being blinded by how I assume it to be.
"Behold, I am making all things new."
I am Irene Kraegel. I work as a clinical psychologist and teach mindfulness on a faith-based college campus. I practice mindfulness because it opens me up to God (a.k.a. brings joy). I am writing here in hopes of sharing some of my experiences and thoughts related to the practice of mindfulness in the life of a Christian. Thanks for reading!
© Irene Kraegel 2014-2019
Photo credit (header):