Always More New Things To Love

I don't bounce back from strenuous activities, road trips, music festivals, or a few too many scotches as I used to do when I was younger. 

I know more than a few people reading this are feeling me now.  I'd salute you, but my elbow is sore for some reason that I cannot fathom. 

I recently went to an outdoor music festival just north of Austin on the hottest spring day, with a heat index of 107 degrees.  I was there all day, enjoying the music, trying to stay in the shade, and not drinking enough water. 

The short version of this sad tale is that I got dehydrated. Despite attending scores of outdoor music festivals, I have never been dehydrated until now.  It was a sobering and humbling experience. 

Of course, the obvious solution would be to drink enough water and not other things that have the opposite effect of water. 

However, another solution would be to avoid attending day-long music festivals when the sun is hotter than the sun's surface. 

The trouble is, I love day-long music festivals even when it's hotter than the sun's surface outside.  I love discovering new bands, making new friends, and generally taking in the shared experience of live music, sweating it out in the pit in front of the stage, and so much more. 

Despite my struggles to get up the next day, I think it helps keep my spirit young, vibrant, and alive, even if the rest of me is achy and sore. 

I read this great quote from author Norman Mclean about getting older the other day, and it seems appropriate: 

As I get considerably beyond the biblical allotment of three score years and ten, I  feel with increasing intensity that I  can express my gratitude for still being around on the oxygen-side of the earth's crust only by not standing pat on what I have hitherto known and loved.  While oxygen lasts, there are still new things to love, especially if compassion is a form of love.  

This resonates with me so much.  Mclean attributes his longevity and ability to stay on the right side of the ground to his openness to change and ability to find new things "to love."  

And then, he shifts to the idea of compassion. 

Compassion requires a certain level of flexibility. The kind of action/emotion grows with us as we mature. We find new ways to be compassionate as we refuse to "stand pat" on what we thought we knew or might have loved in the past. 

As we grow older, we might occasionally have bone stiffness, but that stiffness should not extend to our spirit. We should not be "set in our ways" but fully open to transforming our ways by discovering and loving new things. 

One of the great gifts that God gives to us is the gift of wisdom if we are willing to embrace it.  We learn some things as we journey through life, and one of the things we learn is that we can be bent, molded, shaped, and made new. 

Wisdom comes from this reshaping.  We understand that God and the world are far more extensive and mysterious than ever.  There will always be new things to love, new ways to show compassion, and new ways to become the people we were always meant to be. 

May it be so for all of us, and may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  


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