Wednesday, January 4, 2023

2023 - Beginnings: Fountains and Sunrises

Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.
The wild animals honor me,
    the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,
    the people I formed for myself
    that they may proclaim my praise.

Isaiah 43:18-21

The lookout from the Wild Horse Monument,
overlooking the Columbia River and Vantage, WA

I was originally planning on going with a sunrise theme here, but the above verse has been on my mind, and it uses a different metaphor. Both work. Tomorrow will be one month since we got the life-changing news that Wireless Advocates is no more. I wrote about it at that time here. Next week will be 5 years since I was hired permanent. Our colleagues around the country suddenly lost their jobs, and those of us at the national headquarters continue to work on wrapping things up with the business before our jobs end next month.

This has been an interesting month. Between tasks related to closing the business, we have been working on job search, updating our resumes, updating LinkedIn, and more. I have been deeply impressed how some of the most helpful people on our team have been managers around the country who lost their job last month, but are rallying around the 1800+ employees who have lost, or will soon lose, their jobs, keeping us encouraged, motivated, positive, and even excited about new possibilities. As difficult as this period of loss has been, it has been a beautiful thing to watch. Our team at national headquarters is closer than ever, as we are all in the same boat.

Skykomish River
near Gold Bar, WA

I have mentioned my awesome friends Kim and Jason Kotecki in previous blogs. One thing they have encouraged in their motivational movement Escape Adulthood is a change from the traditional idea of New Years Resolutions. People often resolve to lose weight, get organized, any number of things. They might buy a gym membership, go once or twice, and give up. I actually cancelled my gym membership last month because I almost never went, and it ended up being a monthly bill I got nothing for. That is not to say I'm not working on losing weight; I have been working on it since 2020, and have lost just over 100 pounds since then. I still have a ways to go, but I'm more than halfway there! (I recommend Noom if that's an issue for you. You can tell them I sent you.)

Instead of resolutions we may or may not keep, Kim and Jason recommend coming up with a word for the year. The first year I did it, my word was Ooze. First of all, I love that word. It's fun to say. People generally think of oozing goo, but you can also ooze joy, ooze love, ooze any number of things. It doesn't have to be gooey or mushy. In 2020, my word was Vision. (Get it? 2020 Vision?) I don't do a word every year (I didn't have one last year), but in light of recent events, I have decided to go with "Beginnings" or "Sunrise" for this year. In the above verses, I normally only hear verse 19 (the part about doing a new thing). But just now looking at the passage, the verses around it are also important. Though we should learn from the past, it is in the past and there's nothing we can do about it isn't a good idea to dwell on it. Jackals and owls are generally nocturnal, and jackals in particular are known for scavenging. Anubis, an ancient Egyptian god of the dead, was represented as a jackal. In CS Lewis' The Horse and His Boy, the graveyard outside Tashbaan has jackals prowling nearby. At one point Aslan protects Shasta from them (though at the time Shasta doesn't know the identity of the cat protecting him). In the sequel The Silver Chair (which has a fleeting reference to The Horse and His Boy), Jill and Eustace are helped by owls, but they are most helpful at night. In the Harry Potter books, owls deliver mail. I'm not sure exactly where I'm going with that, but those are my thoughts on jackals and owls.

In any case, even in the most desolate of deserts and circumstances, God provides water and other things needed, both to humans and to wild animals. Just as a spring of water bubbles and froths excitedly, we can look to the future with joy and eager anticipation, even if everything around us looks grim and hopeless. Sometimes it seems counterintuitive, but an optimistic outlook can work wonders.

Clark Fork River
near Superior, MT

With my goal of Beginnings this year, I am looking forward to seeing what wondrous thing God has for me. I started this blog in 2010, but have been fairly irregular in posting. The past couple weeks, starting with my reblogs of my All Things Broadway posts, I have been working on posting daily. I am hoping to keep that up and develop this into a more regular blog. I don't know exactly what direction that will take, but we will see. I am also exploring my options on the employment front. I'm excited to see what amazing new possibilities are bubbling "just around the riverbend," to quote Pocahontas

As my friends Kim and Jason like to say, "Now that this has happened, what does it make possible?" At the risk of mixing metaphors, what joyful spring of water will be bubbling and frothing as the sun rises on my next chapter? Is there an awesome proverbial geyser in my future? I can't wait to find out!

Here's to new beginnings joyfully springing up as a beautiful sunrise dawns over the horizon!

Sunrise over Lake Michigan
Sheboygan, WI

Sunrise over Lake Michigan
(and a raccoon if you look closely)
Sheboygan, WI

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