I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5 (NIV)
One day I decided to get creative with my new camera. The afternoon sun was fading fast and there was little light left. Everyone was taking straight on photos of the lighthouse and it was crowded. I couldn’t get a good shot. Then I turned around to leave and there it was…the reflection of the lighthouse in the beveled glass of the old light keepers house. It was perfect and unusual. The chance to take this photo was passing quickly, but I captured it satisfactorily and it has turned out to be one of my favorites. Sometimes the reflection can be more interesting than the subject as I found out that afternoon. We reflect to others what is on the inside of us. But sometimes it takes another person to see us for who we are for us to make some positive changes.
There were several birthdays this month that we remembered in our family. Birthdays can be a time for looking ahead and also of looking back. My family has come to expect my special two-part birthday question that I ask which is…..”What is it that you are most proud of accomplishing in this past year and what are you looking forward to in the coming year”? They used to panic and give me a quick answer but now, I see that some of them actually prepare an answer and are proud to share their achievements and goals. The occasion to be blessed with another year of life can be a time of remembering and reflecting. For me, I try to learn something new each year and then try to pass on what I have learned. I like to sometimes be the student and sometimes be the teacher. We are never too old to stop learning and growing. That applies also to our spirituality too. While we work hard for certifications, degrees and diplomas to show we are accomplished, there is the side to us that should also be growing spiritually. It would be wishful thinking if we could possibly inherit a deep spirituality from our Christian parents or relatives. We can’t get it by osmosis! It takes sitting down with God in the quiet and repenting as we reflect over our life and maybe where we have come up short. It is about asking God for forgiveness while we simultaneously forgive others. Sometimes we need to forgive ourselves. God is a God of love and compassion. He wants us to grow into a deeper relationship with Him. Like the scripture says, He is the vine and we are the branches. A relationship with God is more than church on Sunday, it is communicating every day. I shyly admit it was later in life that I learned that daily prayer was so important. To pray about everything and everyone and every situation I found myself in. Reflecting back on one’s life can be so eye-opening. In the rear-view mirror we will either find we have come a very long way or we will learn we have a long road ahead of us. Either way, we should consider ourselves blessed to be on the right road, following God, looking ahead with hope and expectation.