Monday, April 25, 2011

Honouring the past in our present - Mann

Have you ever been the recipient of what I have come to know as ‘not them, but me?’ What I mean by this is a common statement that's often used whenever you change direction in your life. This might be a doctor, music teacher, church, political party or garden designer where you might hear words something like, “What you have been doing/getting/eating/voting/planting is really not right for you in this situation. You should be thinking/talking/speaking or digging this way.”

Why can’t we just stay positive and add to what has already been done. If we don’t think previous treatment or advice has been adequate, rather than dismissing it, could we not just add to it to make it relevant? My friend recently changed doctors and lo and behold, her new doctor shamed her previous treatment. Another friend purchased some plants for a shady spot in her garden and then the local florist said that truly wouldn’t work, dig them out and buy the ones that he’d suggested. Surely, there would be room for both plants.

In listening to the ongoing political conversation that breaks news each day, it seems that some people take great delight in dismissing another’s contribution rather than adding to it. We in the church are even guilty of this. It would seem that some love to discount all previous religious or relationship experience except the very moment of stepping on the proverbial church doorstep on which they are at the present time. This always seems to me as if we miss the point of the Apostle Paul's words, "I planted, Apollos watered and God gave the growth."

Recently my husband and I moved from a large farmhouse to a small house in town. We’ve lived in a number of places in thirty years of serving the church and in each place we’ve learned valuable lessons, never to discount any particular one.

The image I want to leave with you in this blog is one of a bridge. In every illustration I named above, there has been a bridge from and to, each piece of journey giving a valuable message. The bridge in Salem, Ontario gives you a definite to and from picture. When you look over one side of the bridge, you see a tranquil river. At this time of the year the water pushes the grassy banks and appears like a mirror reflecting the sky hanging over like a canopy.

From the other side of the bridge, you see the same river conceding to a high waterfall where the Elora Gorge begins. Locals call it the top of the rocks. I like that – the beginning of something totally and refreshingly new, yet coming from yet, another place. Perhaps we can consider that most change ends up from one extreme to another. May your waterfall be refreshing and may the river, from which you came, continue to nurture you.


Donna Mann


Peter Black said...

Donna, you are so correct. If I might further analogize: It's as if some people want us to throw out the baby we have with the bathwater, so they can replace it with a baby they'd rather we have.
I identify with you: My wife and I also found that each pastoral tenure stretched us, helped us grow, and taught us valuable lessons.

Eleanor Shepherd said...

Dear Donna,
I also agree that often it is not a question of either/or but rather both/and. There is a time for everything and we are sometimes ready to accept something that we would not have been able to accept at an earlier time. Thank you for these words of wisdom.

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