BY DR MARGARET GHOSN
Joan Chittister writes in her book In search of Belief:
“If we believe in God the Creator, then I must hope in God’s commitment to the eternally ongoing process of Creation. I am not born finished. I do not live whole. I do not die complete. There must be more. . . there is no one on earth who really believes that creation has no purpose. Why? Because everything that they themselves do in their infinitesimally minor moments of life is full of direction, reeks with intent, pulses with eternal meaning.”
This ongoing process of life is at the heart of the Scriptures. In the Old Testament there is a theme of continuous beginning, a continual coming into relationship with God, an ongoing renewing of the covenant.
Life is a cycle of starting again and over again as we read in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted. . . a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
Jesus as human became part of this life that begins again and again. He grew up immersed in loving kindness and he passed that loving kindness on. Again and again, time after time, he healed, he taught, and he loved.
As Jesus healed, taught and loved, we will find ourselves ministering over and over to others; as parents, to their daughters and sons, as teachers, to their students, as nurses and doctors, to the sick, elderly and dying. There is an anecdote often told about a patient who kicked the visiting chaplain out on the first, second, third, fourth and fifth visits, only to welcome him into the room on the sixth visit saying, “Well, I guess you really do care about me.”
Jack Canfield and Mark V. Hansen tell the story of a man walking down a deserted beach at sunset. As he walked along, he noticed that a local native kept leaning down, picking something up and throwing it out into the water. As he drew closer he noticed the native was picking up starfish that had been washed up on the beach and was throwing them back into the water. The puzzled man said, “Good evening friend. I was wondering what are you doing?”
“I’m throwing these starfish back into the ocean. You see, it’s low tide right now and all these starfish have been washed up on the shore. If I don’t throw them back into the ocean, they’ll die here from lack of oxygen.”
“I understand,” the man replied, “but there must be thousands of starfish on this beach. You can’t possibly get to all of them. There are simply too many. Can’t you see that you can’t possibly make a difference?” The local native smiled, bent down and picked up yet another starfish, and as he threw it back into the sea, he replied, “Made a difference to that one!”
Our lives follow the same pattern. We try again and again for we hope that everything we do has meaning, intent and purpose. As Robert Byrne says, the purpose of life is a life of purpose. So as our Australian winter makes way for spring’s delight, we begin again and again, for there is always the possibility of newness and the hope of doing something better the second and even third time around.