Moving Forward

The drought we are experiencing in California has got our attention, I hope, and meteorologists suggest that this may be the new normal.  Indeed, one scientist suggested that by the end of this century, this current year would be considered a wet year, and we would experience Sahara like conditions in California.  It remains beautiful here day to day, but the effect is cumulative, and so, of course, we will have to adjust and change our behaviors.

We are reducing our water use at home and plan to take out the rest of our front lawn for a low or no water landscape, and I know many of you are doing that as well.  It is a good thing, and I actually look forward to learning more about this desert climate we live in and the plants native to and adaptive to it.

What has to change, of course, is our attitude or our outlook, our expectations.  Of all the creatures on this earth, we seem to be the ones who can imagine the future the best, and see the present in the largest sense. We can be optimists or pessimists, depressed or hopeful, disengaged or engaged.

Our minds are pretty free things, less bound by condition than our bodies perhaps.  So how do we go from despair to hope, or from fear to courage, from being stuck to moving forward? In small and big ways, we face that every day – how do we move forward, for ourselves and for our children, for the present and for the future?

There is a melancholic Scandinavian part to my soul, but there is also an adventurous and excited part too.  Balancing them, not letting the downer part take over, occupies my attention.  How to move forward, not be stuck – that the sermon for this Sunday.  Even when confused, how can we see our way forward?

Recently, I read a wonderful comment by a NASA scientist about a rock Curiosity has found on Mars.  They have no idea what it is or where it came from.  It was not in recent photos; it just appeared.  The scientist said “We’re completely confused; we’re having a wonderful time.”

Now that is the attitude to have.  It is like the old Johnny Mercer tune sung by Perry Como and Sam Cooke:

“You’ve got to accentuate the positive
eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
But don’t mess with mister in-between”

It’s good advice.

-Rev. Dr. Jim Nelson

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