Article from Seasons Weekend
Any real beginning is a miracle. To write a book, or start a company, or turn to a clean page in your journal, requires some divine spark of creation. Anything that needs life requires some sort of life-giving miracle to begin. This is true for our human beginnings, our baby ideas and the little mute acorn waiting in the ground.
While I think most of us can appreciate the idea of the “spark” and many of us have benefited from the results of the creative or physical “sparking” like great works or precious children, I find it extremely difficult to enjoy the uncomfortable process I must endure in beginning. Particularly if I have burdened aforementioned beginning by projecting an outcome on it. Ever known someone who decided their son would be a doctor before the pregnancy test was positive?
I often hear people demurely refer to their “humble” beginnings as though this is unique. Uhm, aren’t all beginnings humble? Nothing is born or birthed or created in all its fullness from the very start. Nothing. Which is why our brains and hearts find it so daunting to begin almost anything—writing, working out, changing bad patterns, taking up golf at 40, you name it. If it requires a beginning, you can bank on it being humble and on your being humbled in the process. At least that’s the way it has been for me.
Even knowing this, I often feel the need to apologize for something in its infancy instead of delighting in it. I am so prone to devalue the process by saying, “Oh, I wish it were farther along.” Can you imagine receiving a compliment on your baby and responding with, “I’m so sorry he’s not a toddler yet, they are so much more fun when they can walk around.”
However, making friends with humility is a great way to start anything. It also helps to redefine your relationship with words like silence, darkness, patience and trust. Because it seems to me, miracles happen in the dark, in hidden places away from plain view. Like under the ground, or in a womb, or in an internal resolution. The spark is rarely, if ever, a visible, watchable, occurrence. And as I wait in the dark, my heart learns (okay, is forced) to trust—not in my own work, but in the miraculous work of the spark of life that happens when I am not working at all.
To make it even harder, a new beginning is something you cannot hurry. Try as I might. While there are things all around us we can speed up, or race through, healthy growth is simply not one of them. It takes the time it takes. For all of our technological advances, it still takes 9 months to grow a baby or 6 weeks for the Monarch egg to become a caterpillar then a butterfly or a lifetime to live a lifetime. Some things will not and should not be rushed. But once the spark occurs, the “get ‘er done” gland tends to kick into overdrive and can actually damage the process. Someone told me that can happen sometimes.
Maybe beginning anything (even a new day) requires us to metaphorically “conquer death” to get started. To be willing to wait in the dark, armed only with the hope of the “spark” is daunting at best and paralyzing when there is a lot riding on it. It’s a wonder anyone starts anything new.