Friday, August 15, 2014

Old Growth vs. Getting Old

Old Growth vs. Getting Old

This week I’ve been hiking through the forests here in the Adirondack Mountains.  These are old growth forests and they are thick and impressive: they grow close to the roads and closer to the hiking paths.  Next to these forests I shouldn’t feel old.

But it’s natural that the older we get the older we feel.  We have our routines and get set in our ways: maybe that’s part of feeling older.  And even though there may be lots of cools things still happening in our lives, older is still older.  Right?

So peering at this old growth forest presents a different perspective on getting old: trees, ferns, moss and bogs have been here for eons; they grow, die, decompose, and spawn new growth that eventually becomes old growth, and…. you get the picture. This stuff is old; it changes and yet it’s unchanged.

Maybe we need to change and yet remain unchanged:
The things we can change are external: how we look and how we act; we have control of these: what we do with them is open for all to view. These things come and go like each cycle in the forest.
The internal stuff should remain unchanged: our beliefs and values; we learn and hopefully practice these. They are the foundations of our growth, and they’re based on everything we’ve experienced and learned.

But getting old isn’t easy.  The forest battles wind, weather, water and fire, and man.  We battle elements, circumstances, emotions, and people.  We need to learn to effectively deal with the things that happen to us, and to treat everything the way we wish to be treated in hopes that they or it will be moved to do the same in return.

The forest seems to be there: thick, lush and forever.  The changes that happen seem to be less important that the forest itself.  But for us, and all those around us, the changes that happen seem to be more important that the people, places, feelings and things we experience.  Maybe we should start seeing all of those other things as more important than the changes….and maybe then we’ll start to realize how important those other people and things really are.

So as I walk these woods, my prayer is that I survive the elements and circumstances, accept the changes, learn from the experiences, and age gracefully.  Amen.

My message this week is about knowing what it takes to live a good long life:

“My rule of thumb for hitchhiking is: stick it up straight and proud and make if visible to all drivers.” Jarod Kintz

Funny how things change: when I was a kid we hitchhiked all the time.  Stuck out our thumbs and hoped someone would pick us up: to go to school, to see a movie, or visit friends.  Nobody thought twice about thumbing for the ride, or picking someone up.  But like so many things in life, that’s changed.  What hasn’t changed, however, is being proud of what you do: working hard, focusing on quality, attending to the details, creating good will, keeping your word, and acting ethically.  Do these with purpose and sincerity and they’ll be visible to everyone: and you can be proud of that.

Stay well!

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