New Beginnings by Colin Such

Posted 9/2/2017 9:46:28 AM

September's letter

It’s been a strange summer, after a dry spring I, for one, was all ready for a hot sunny summer. Instead we have had grey and damp days while elsewhere in Europe many suffered droughts and heat waves. Perhaps the next couple of months will make up for it?
As most of you already know I became the owner of two Border collie puppies (Monty and Matty) who were 7 weeks old when they arrived at the vicarage.
It’s been 15 years since I last had puppies but so far it has been fun. They are now getting to the stage where they can reach things so I have to remember to put things well out of reach. They have a mad hour of play and then suddenly it’s time to sleep so at the moment there are still plenty of times of quiet despite them now having found their barks!
Now that house training is pretty much done there is less need for newspaper and so less for them to shred, thankfully. It is lovely to sit outside with a cup of coffee and watch them play – they come to me when called (it’s funny what a pocket full of treats can do.)
Everything is a new experience for them and so as we walk along the road a leaf blowing past becomes something of great excitement to be explored. This means that our walks (still quite short at the moment) take a little while as they stop and sniff at everything. It makes me realise just how much I pass by without even noticing sometimes (now I have to look ahead to see what they might want to try to eat – if I’m not careful Monty takes a mouthful of someone’s rose every time we walk past and then petals float behind him as we continue our walk).
This month sees a host of beginnings; children off to school for the first time, older students off to a new school or college, undergraduates leaving home for university and many others beginning their careers or taking a gap year to go travelling.
For all of them there will be new people to meet, new places to explore and become familiar with, new friends to make, new experiences to have and endless knowledge of the world around them to gain.
No matter how old we are the world is full of things to experience and explore, to look at in a new way and to see with fresh eyes. One of my favourite spiritual writers, Anthony de Mello ends one of his stories with this: “What was that you said? You have heard dozens of birds sing and seen hundreds of
trees? Ah, was it the tree you saw or the label? If you look at a tree and see a tree, you
have really not seen the tree. When you look at the tree and see a miracle—then, at last, you have seen! Did your heart never fill with wordless wonder when you heard a bird in song?”
I have said many times over the years that having dogs teaches me so many things; having puppies teaches me again to see the world with new eyes, to see the wonder, beauty, joy and excitement in everything no matter how ordinary and mundane.
The same is true of our spiritual lives; to see the wonder of God all around us in the everyday, ordinary things, in our regular worship and in the people we see day by day.
There is always something new to experience and for which to give thanks if we look afresh with eyes of faith.