Making New

In other parts of the world, it is still spring. A friend who lives in the Colorado mountains posted a beautiful description of the new life frolicking outside her window: baby foxes, cranes, and birds.

I easily fall into thinking that nothing really changes, or perhaps more exactly that I am not making things change fast enough or am incapable of doing so at all. The thing is, as usual, it’s not me who changes things. “See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” God says in Isaiah.

Fr. Bruno Barnhart, OSB Cam., looked out at the beauty of the Big Sur coast and wrote, “Within us…is to be discovered a free, imaginative power which has been given us so we can actually bring forth the beginning of a new creation” (from his essay “The Big Sur Coast—Sixty Miles of Music to the Eye”). So how can this bringing forth be both within us and not from us?

It is not our power, as in something that belongs to us. It has been given to us, Fr. Bruno says, not the way we’re given a set of cutlery to use every day but rather the way we’re given the gift of baby foxes playing outside our window.

We didn’t do anything to make it happen. We can’t do anything to make it stay. We can’t use it to do whatever we want to because it’s a “free, imaginative power.” It’s never separate from us, but we can’t hold onto it. It works through us, sometimes in spite of us; it both does and does not need our participation.

If you’re thinking right now that this doesn’t make any sense, I agree. This power is not especially interested in making sense—it’s interested in making new. And it’s important to remember that we, too, are part of the new creation, that we are being brought forth, continuously, from the inside out.

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