How can a beginning be numbered? By definition a beginning is always first.
But beginnings do not spring from nothing. Diets are easily begun on Monday morning after a weekend of caloric infusion.
Even mold needs a wet dishrag neglected beneath the sink, or a remnant of cottage cheese forgotten in the back of the refrigerator.
Beginning may happen when we turn from a previous purpose or direction and step away, reaching for new support as we go. We carry wisps of the past clinging to our coat tails and deep in our heart. Inaugurating a new profession, we view each new experience in contrast to the last work, office, or management.
As we step up to take on caregiving for a parent or spouse, we wear our previous relationship even as we reach for the new cloak of responsibility. Unless the parent or spouse is comatose, they also remember their role in caring for us and how we disappointed or made them proud. We should not be surprised when regrets and conflict materialize like steam issues as cold and warm collide.
Beginnings can take us by surprise when our plans become disrupted. Winter drops cold temperatures onto us as we sleep through what we didn’t know would be the last autumn night. A fall, stroke or medical prognosis declares life as we know it at an end. The financial picture of our employer shatters into unemployment. We are pushed into a new beginning.
When we review the beginnings we experienced in our past, we can take heart. We survived before and will flourish as we begin again.