I'd like to think that I'm a person who knows a thing or two about new beginnings.
Granted, I grew up most of my life in one city, having lived approximately 14 of my almost-29 years in Texarkana. It's safe to say that I've got roots there, namely, my parents, sisters, brothers-in-law, two nephews, a niece, and a second niece that we will welcome into our world in less than a week! So that town holds a piece of my heart.
But over the years we moved a couple of times. When I was 9, we moved to Camden, AR for three years. And when I was 13, we moved to Springdale, AR for a year. When I graduated high school, I moved to Arkadelphia, about an hour up the road from good ole T-town. I spent four years there, and admittedly, that little town now also owns a piece of my heart. And when I graduated from college, I got my first "real" job in Little Rock. Seems like it took awhile, but I managed to make the Little Rock area my home, and have found a wonderful church family with a great group of friends that now also own yet another piece of my heart. I've been here for over six years, which is longer than I've been anywhere else, except Texarkana.
But enough about me. This post is not about a new year nor a new beginning for me. Today's my blogfather's birthday (this guy; the reason I have a blog...or even know what one is!), so today marks the start of a new year for him, and that's exciting! But also, a week from today, he and his wife and daughter will pack up and move to NC. So this time also marks the start of a new beginning for him, and that's exciting!
But it can also be difficult. In fact, he wrote about the difficult part of leaving, over on his blog, just earlier this week. I've been thinking about that post off-and-on this week, as I'll admit it made me sad for him. He's right, the leaving his current life behind is not gonna be easy for him. And yet...there were some things he said that I thought were very important, namely the mention of new challenges that lie ahead. They may be uncomfortable, as they're not the life he's known for the past who-knows-how-many years. But "life isn's about things staying the same." The reason I think that's so important, is because with each new beginning, the changes and challenges help to make us a part of who we are.
I spent last night till 1:30 in the morning, and then most of my today, cleaning my apartment, doing laundry, and getting packed to go counsel at a week of a church camp here in AR. Now, I can guarantee you that I would be doing none of that, were it not for all the different places, and new beginnings, I've had in my life. Let me explain: that precious family of mine in Texarkana is a God-fearing family, with parents who raised me in a Christian home. I'm convinced that when we moved to Camden, the time we spent at the church there began a change in my family's beliefs about God and His church. Also, it was during our time at that church that I first attended a church camp. It was that church camp at which I was baptized into Christ. Ever since then, church camps have held a special place in my heart. The camp I'm headed to tonight is not that one, though. It's one that I became acquainted with when I was in college. I began counseling there the summer after my freshman year of college, in 2002...and have only missed about three summers there since then. This will be #8 out of the past 11 summers for me there! I'll spend the week with some people who I've been friends with for that long, and others who I might not have met before till now. But my point is...I wouldn't be where I am today, without all of the changes and new beginnings that have taken place in my life.
So although yes, new beginnings can be very difficult, even painful--we wouldn't be who we are without them, and because of that, I feel like they should be celebrated. So here's to my blogfather, Keith, and his new beginning!
Praying God's richest blessings on your journey ahead, sir!