Growing new, not old

The Christian Science Monitor

Many people these days seem caught up in an effort to avoid growing old. We're offered products to make us look younger, products to make us feel younger. We're even encouraged to act younger. The underlying message is "Growing old is bad, so do everything you can to stay young." That message, though, unthinkingly assumes that the opposite of "old" has to be "young." In fact, there's another way to look at it. The opposite of "old" can also be "new." Pursuing this line of thought, we can do a great deal in the right direction and get beyond just trying to hang on to an elusive thing called "youth."

A growing plant adds newness every day: new roots, new branches, new leaves, new flowers. In a certain sense, "to grow" means to keep adding something new. You might even say that the expression "to grow old" is a contradiction in terms. You really can't grow old; you can only grow new. That's what growth is. But you and I aren't like plants, adding leaves and flowers. What kind of newness can we bring out day by day?

May 22, 1989
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