The PlayStation 2. A modern marvel; a revolutionary gaming system with the best graphics, games, and gameplay yet invented. Or, as I gave my sales pitch to my parents (who until that point had not allowed me to own a gaming system because it would “rot my brain”…They may have been right.) it was an educational electronic system that would improve my muscle-memory and hand-eye coordination skills. And above all of that, it was NEW!
Almost 18 years later, (the PS2 was released one day before my 9th birthday… and I didn’t get it until a few years later) the PS2 is, for all intents and purposes, outdated… I apologize to my two older brothers who grew up with Atari and NES systems. It is safe to say, at least, that the PS2 is no longer, new. Today’s game systems have wifi, Blu-ray players, digital downloads, YouTube, Netflix, and lots of other capabilities that had never even been heard of in the year 2000.
When things are new, they are intriguing, unknown, (often expensive), and exciting. If you’re not into video games, think of unboxing a new Christmas gift, experiencing the smell of a new book, seeing the lack of fingerprints on a new phone, or tasting your new favorite ice cream flavor. This feeling of “newness” is not reserved for material possessions. Think of your first kiss, your wedding day, the first time your child takes a step, the first day of classes, the first day of a job. Joy seems frequently to surround things that are new, whether they are experiences, possessions, or relationships. And then we are, often immediately, confronted with something other than that initial excitement, wonder, awe, unease, butterflies-in-your stomach, time of discovery…
The ice cream melts. The phone cracks. The PS2 breaks. The classes are failed. Your employment becomes monotonous. And so varying levels of pain and loss set in. Or, simply boredom or complacency. Of course, there is an incredible gap in the importance of a game and say a relationship. But it is still possible to allow boredom or complacency to take root in your heart as you begin to take others for granted and the “newness” wears off.
Simply because something is new, doesn’t mean it is better. The most wisdom is often found in the people who have celebrated the most birthdays; often the grandest trees are those which have the most rings, the most fascinating books are those with pages worn by time, the greatest marriages have celebrated the most anniversaries, faithfulness is displayed through decades, and God’s glory continues to be revealed through centuries.
Of course, there is a flip-side to this; much darkness can dwell in the past. Things done wrong, said wrong, disappointments, fears, failures. When things are no longer new, they can become moldy or cease to work. There can be a deterioration and collapse of value. Old, depreciated, used, antique. Varying levels of worth indicating the same thing…. no longer new.
Decay is all too common to humanity. Anne Lamott once wrote in a poem, “100 years, all new people.” This is a sobering thought. The things which are new today, 1200 months from now will be like 1918 is to us today… historical.
Isaiah 40:8 says, “The grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word of our Lord endures forever.”
The only things that truly remain new, are eternally new. The Lord’s mercies are new every morning, those who are in Christ are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17), there will be a new heaven and a new earth (2 Peter 3:13), and Jesus comforts us with the truth that He is making all things new. (Revelation 21:5).
The topic for this month is rather large, broad, and multi-faceted. Suffice it to say that there has always been and will continue to be an obsession with things that are new. From video games to people, from books to iPhones, there will always be something or someone new. (At least, new to us.) And yet, my greatest hope, joy, and desire doesn’t really come from something new, nor from something old. Somewhere between now and 1000 month from now, I will see the face of my Savior. Perhaps C.S. Lewis said it best…
“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”