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“Inside myself is a place where I live all alone, and that’s where you renew your springs that never dry up” (Pearl Buck).
NONE OF US HAS ENOUGH INNER STRENGTH TO LAST A LIFETIME. We simply can’t make it. If we are to keep going, we must be “renewed” fairly often. And this process must take place deep inside of us — in that place where, as Pearl Buck said, we “live all alone.” Physical renewal is important, as is emotional renewal, but even more important is a thing that may be called character renewal. The choices we’ve made in the past concerning our principles, our values, and our conduct will “dry up” if they’re not refreshed, improved, and strengthened.
There is little excuse, really, for not tending to our renewal. We are surrounded by resources to prompt us and help us. The world of nature is the most obvious one, of course. Even the casual observation of the land, the sea, and the heavens tends to have a refreshing effect on us. Indeed, natural things are so powerful that if we had regular contact with them our renewal would almost take care of itself. But there are many other things that should have a similar effect: friends, books, music, and laughter are just a few. If we interact with these things attentively and mindfully, we’ll find ourselves being rejuvenated. Our outlook will be refurbished and our energy replenished.
The people who have the greatest impact for good in our world are those who see themselves as being “new.” Like anyone else, they reach the point of exhaustion from time to time, but unlike others, they make a point of regularly starting over. They know how to turn a fresh page and begin writing something new. And as the years go by, they feel themselves getting “newer” rather than “older.”
If we’re not doing what these people do, we need to be reminded that the only alternative to renewal is decay. For human beings, there is no middle ground. Either we’re developing or we’re deteriorating. And those around us, especially our loved ones, would dearly love to see us developing! They would be delighted to know that our inner light is growing stronger and brighter as time goes by.
“We die on the day when our lives cease to be illumined by the steady radiance, renewed daily, of a wonder, the source of which is beyond all reason” (Dag Hammarskjöld).