January 27, 2012

Emmaus Walk / Debra Tomaselli

Welcome to 2012. Are you singing a new song?

Debra Tomaselli“Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre; Sing praises to Him with a harp of ten strings. Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy” (Ps 33:2-3).

With the rush of the holidays behind us, I have taken down the Christmas tree, bundled the lights, and packed the Nativity scene, snow globes and wreaths in the garage.

I love turning the page on the calendar. The New Year is time for a new beginning, a letting go of the past, a fresh look at tomorrow.

But change is difficult, and starting something new requires effort.

For instance, I recall the music lessons from my childhood. I couldn’t wait to learn how to play the accordion.

Anyone who has ever played an instrument knows that learning how to read music, handle the instrument and get it to emit any kind of noise are achievements in themselves. Those first erratic chords are a major accomplishment. It takes hours and hours of practice before the first sounds of a melody emerge. Nobody can just pick up an instrument and play a beautiful tune. We work up to it.

Singing a new song to the Lord is similar. New beginnings may fluster us and cause us to question if we will ever be comfortable again. Our bumpy starts do not indicate failure, simply a need to persevere until we are skillfully playing.

Initially, we may not be harmonious, but with practice and dedication a melodious composure will result.

Several years ago, I made the biggest New Year’s resolution of my life. Following the call to write, I abandoned former responsibilities in the workplace to pursue a career in publishing.

I traded proficiency in the insurance business for inexperience as a writer, cherished co-workers for a blank computer screen and a bustling downtown commute for a solitary home office. The transition was long and lonely. In the beginning, nothing was harmonious.

Then, Together in Christ published a meditation that I wrote. The Word Among Us accepted my parenting articles. Upper Room, On Mission magazine and Lifestyle publications printed my work. The Florida Catholic invited me to write this column. Eventually, other diocesan newspapers followed suit. And new goals are developing.

Early in my writing ministry, the advice found in Psalm 33 helped me to persevere when the end results of my efforts were uncertain. Transitions, whether wanted or unwanted, exciting or tiresome, happy or sad, are all about singing a new song to the Lord.

When you find yourself facing changes, don’t be afraid. Be thankful. Don’t give up, give praise. Sing a new song to the Lord.

Trust me, before long, a melodious composure will result.

(Debra Tomaselli lives in Altamonte Springs, Fla. Her column appears in several diocesan newspapers. Her e-mail address is dtomaselli@cfl.rr.com.)

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