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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Beginnings (05/31/04)

TITLE: A New Beginning Awaits You
By Joanne Malley
06/02/04

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A New Beginning Awaits You
by Joanne Malley



This past Sunday, we visited my sister-in-law for a barbeque. We arrived fashionably late, as usual! Everyone was having a great time and the eating fest was well under way. I decided to join in and fill my plate. I had been engaged in plenty of adult conversation during dinner and was now completely stuffed like the rest of them. I know some of us had two questions--"why did I eat so much? and where can I take a nap?"

After kicking back for a while, I decided to take a peaceful walk in the neighborhood. My sister-in-law was busy at the time playing hostess, and the kids were swimming in the pool. My husband was watching the Indianapolis 500 with a group of male couch potatoes, so I thought this would be a perfect time for my walk. I knew if I stayed there I would be bored to death watching the race. I also knew that after a satisfying meal, the men would be catching flies with their mouths wide open in about an hour! So, off I went!

While I was walking, I was totally engrossed in "ooooing and aaaahing" at some of the very large, well-kept homes. Something on the front lawn of one of the homes grabbed my attention. I noticed that an old oak tree had a very thick branch that looked dead. The branch was barren and I thought there was no chance of survival. But, when I took a closer look, very small areas were visible with new green growth. The tree proved me wrong--it was emerging with a burst of new life--a chance at a new beginning.

On my way back to the house, I was thinking how this situation with the tree equates to a person's chance at a new beginning after a season of lost hope. It may occur during the loss of a loved one or some other unfortunate life-altering experience. Our future may look so bleak, that we feel there is little chance of survival, just like the branch on the oak tree. During the barren times, we may feel dead inside, but if we allow Him, God pushes us onward as we lean on Him for our new vision or purpose. Afterward, when the pain has lifted, we emerge again with essentially a new outlook and a new beginning.

Life seems to be a big cycle of endings and beginnings and we whirl around while learning and growing with each new start. Many times, beginnings present themselves as a scary ride, but when we find ourselves still strapped in, we get the guts to go for another round. I guess we have to, or we have to get off the ride called life!

Tomorrow will be a new day offering me many beginnings in different areas of my life. On the lighter side, this is especially true when I promise myself a fresh start to my everlasting diet! It's great to know that no matter how often I screw up, I can always begin again!

When my children return to school after summer vacation, I'll have an entire day to myself for the first time in twelve years. A new chapter in my life will begin by offering new opportunities. Yahooooo, peace at last! Ooops, you weren't supposed to hear that! I guess I couldn't contain my excitement while awaiting my new beginning!


Member Comments
Member Date
Dian Moore06/07/04
Good use of humor and relating to life. Thank you for this light piece that speaks a great lesson about new growth. Well done.
WENDY DECKER06/07/04
nice story Jo. Your voice shines through to a story i'm sure many can relate to.
Lana Fletcher06/08/04
You did well at comparing an aspect of physical nature with our spiritual experience. Thanks.
Deborah Porter 06/09/04
Joanne, this is very much my style. Family life experiences and scriptural truth. You found a good example in nature and made an excellent illustration from it.

Just a thought though about the flow of the piece. I really enjoyed the family gathering picture you painted and was looking forward to where you were going with it. Then when you took a real detour (even though associated through events of the day) I was left feeling a little disappointed. The dead branch was a good example, but it was totally removed from where you started. You could have very easily started this story from the point where you began your peaceful walk.

The funny thing is that I really did enjoy the preamble about the family - the problem was that I enjoyed it a little too much so that it eclipsed my interest in the walk and the branch. (If that makes sense.)

I just have a feeling that if you'd simply started with the peaceful walk, I would have enjoyed your reflections on the tree a lot more. It could just be me though - it was just how I felt as I read the story. You have a delightful style though - very warm and relateable. With love, Deb

Mary Elder-Criss06/09/04
Fresh and enjoyable, although I too, like Deb was really into the "family gathering" and had a hard time switching over. I really enjoy personal experience articles such as yours, though. Am looking forward to reading more by you. Blessings! Mary
L.M. Lee06/09/04
taking time for yourself and enjoying the peace...sigh...sounds great!
B Price06/10/04
enjoyed this... it was great.