Fresh Starts

0 comments Posted on May 3, 2012

A Chance to Get Your Heart Back

by Robin Jones Gunn

My daughter and I started a lovely tradition when she was in elementary school. Every year we set aside a day that made us pause and get ready for a fresh start as we transitioned from one season to the next. We didn’t plan for this day to be so important but it sure was. We called it our “Anne with an E Day.”  And you know which “Anne with an E” I’m talking about, don’t you? Of course—Anne of Green Gables.

Here’s how our “Anne with an E Day” worked.  We collected the following:
Wide open afternoon
Anne of Green Gables video (later we upgraded to a DVD)
Proper pot of tea with
China cups and saucers with all the accoutrements such as cream and sugar cubes1 bottle of pomegranate juice as a clever substitute for raspberry cordial2 plum puffs (or a Variation thereof, such as croissants with jam)1 jump rope to loop around our ankles to participate in the three-legged race
5 – 6 hours to carry out the festivities

Now here’s how the “Anne with an E Day” played out:
Make sure the guys are gone and won’t be back soon
Pop in the video
Tie our ankles together for the three-legged race during the church picnic scene, dash around the kitchen, collapse in a fit of giggles on the couch
Pour our tea as Anne begins hosting Diana Berry on that fateful afternoon and sip our cordials in sympathy

Start in on our plum puffs, knowing what will happen later with the mouse!
Reach for each other when Matthew stumbles in the field, and hold each other as we cry along with Anne
Repeat all our favorite lines to each other, starting with, “All silvery in the moonlight” and moving on to “Carrots!” and “puff sleeves; the puffiest”Look each other in the eye when saying the best line of all: “Tomorrow is a brand new day with no mistakes in it.”Then add our own private line that got included along the way, “Because God’s mercies are new every morning.”

Oh, how I miss our annual “Anne with an E Day”!  For ten years on that one blissful afternoon, we would stop everything and pause long enough to reset our internal clocks before the next season came rushing in upon us. It was our chance to make a fresh start; to get excited about new beginnings. My daughter is now 24 and her couch is over 1,000 miles away from my teapot. We settle for many long phone conversations, but it’s not at all the same.

The interesting thing is that, aside from missing my daughter terribly, I think my mind and body miss that “Anne with an E Day” as much as my spirit does. No one else in my life urges me to stop everything and be silly and sorrowful for an entire afternoon with a full pot of tea. I have no set day on the calendar when I know I’m going to insert a “selah” pause into the schedule and take the time to get my heart back.

I had this concept in mind when I started writing a new set of three novels for Howard Books. In my journal, I had copied a key phrase Jesus said to his disciples in Mark 6:31. Crowds of people were coming and going so that Jesus and his followers did not even have time to eat when Jesus said, “Come apart and rest awhile.” I jotted a note to myself: “What does it look like when a woman takes the time to come apart before her life starts to come apart?”

That question became the sheltering theme for the three novels I wrote over the next 18 months. Each writing day, I took extended dives into the deep places of my heart in order to revisit times in my life when I faced an experience I wasn’t able to process in the moment. I had purposefully weighted and sunk those memories knowing that some day, when I was ready to make a fresh start, I would return to the wreckage and see what treasure might be salvageable.

The stories came rolling out and the results surprised me. The first story, “Under a Maui Moon” released in July and was a Top Pick in Romantic Times and was given their highest rating of 4 ½ stars. I saw that I was not alone. Many readers connected with the concept of coming apart and resting awhile, even if it was only a virtual rest through a story.

Life is rough. We all know that. But there is treasure in the wreckage of all of our lives. God’s mercies are new every morning and “tomorrow is a brand new day with no mistakes in it.”

May all of us discover the blessing of what happens in our hearts and in our lives when we do what Jesus instructed his disciples to do; “come apart and rest awhile.”  We find such “scope of the imagination” when we experience fresh starts and new beginnings. I believe that every woman can surface from the wreckage of life, glistening with the hope that it’s never too late to get her heart back.

But here’s the key: We must find a way to set aside the time before the rush of the next season so that we can come apart and rest awhile.

 

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