I have been pondering some of the “in the beginning” times of my life and have become aware that I am almost always more faithful in the beginning. In the beginning of any season: autumn, winter, spring and summer as well as the beautiful liturgical seasons of Advent and Lent. In the beginning of each season I glow with hopeful anticipation of the gift of the new season. I journal faithfully and seem to pray all the right prayers. I am grateful for the new season that has entered my life.
Likewise, each time I begin a new journal I taste the joy of one of those in the beginning times. Recently I have been reading through my old journals and it is so obvious that at the beginning of the journal my faithfulness shines through even in the legibility of my penmanship. In the beginning I never scribble. I write slowly, purposefully, reflectively. What I write appears to be blessed and anointed. It has substance and I don’t whine very much.
But then something happens. Just like the seasons, the newness wears off and my beautiful in the beginning dries up like a brook in summer’s heat. Words don’t flow quite so well. The illegibility of my writing suggests that hurriedness has returned and the slow thoughtful process of my in the beginning time has disappeared. Even as I write this I see what a marvelous topic for reflection this is. I doubt that I am the only person who understands something of the struggle of remaining faithful to my original love and the purity of my original intention.
I even see this tendency in blogging. Sometimes I surf through various blogs and will find some that are absolutely wonderful in my estimation; but then suddenly I notice that the last post was five months ago. Rarely do I return to those abandoned blogs for I assume the author has lost interest. Believe me I totally understand. It is so easy for me to lose my first fervor.
The tendency to abandon my original love has been the focus of my prayer these last few days. I offer these thoughts to you for your reflection also. What happens? Why do we lose the excitement of our early love. We will probably have varying answers to that question. It may even be that I needed to move on to something new; perhaps that original love is not quite dead but has risen in new ways in my life.
In the book of Revelation the apostle John is greeting the churches of Asia. Each greeting begins with a salutation of peace and grace, an affirmation, and then closes with a reproof. In Chapter two, to the church of Ephesus the reprimand is this:
You have turned aside
from your early love.
O God of our original love,
Return to us!
Teach us to return to our own deepest self.
Entice us. Woo us. Track us.
Find us in those places where we are lost.
Behold our heart’s original yearning.
Stir up in our hearts a desire to be faithful
to the things that lead us to the deep places.
As I pray this prayer you have my very best