Green: There really is no substitute for experience

Renae Green

By some standards, I’m now considered an antique. I don’t care for those standards. I prefer the older school of thought, which requires an antique to be at least 100 years old. Using that criterion, I’m vintage. And vintage is all the rage right now. I may not be as cute as I was when I was 20, but I’m way more valuable.

I recently got new insurance. (Treasured vintage items should always be insured.) And I’m in the process of being restored to my original condition. Last week, I got new glasses. Yesterday, I got my teeth cleaned. My dentist even wants to give me a crown. That’s how valuable I am.

Most of us, when given our choice of gift, will request something shiny and new. For something of low value, something cheaply made, shiny and new is definitely the way to go. After all, it probably won’t last long; might as well enjoy it while it still has some sparkle. Those things depreciate as soon as they leave the store. But quality items tend to increase in value, the older they get.

I’m sad that our culture often disregards its most valuable voices. The 80-year-old, wrinkled sage gets treated more like a mascot than an icon, and his words are ignored. The 90-year-old widow may not speak loudly, but her knowledge is gold. Why do we listen to the shouts of the young and overlook the whispers of the experienced?

Even Disney characters know the value of the aged. Pocahontas sought out Grandma Willow for advice, and Mulan consulted with her ancestors before making an important decision. But today’s expert panels too often consist of those with perfect skin and hair, who have little life experience but awesome abs.

Don’t get me wrong. I admire young, shiny, pretty things as much as the next person. The value of our youth is contained in their unlimited potential; they can do or be or become whatever they choose. But while potential is an important quality, it’s no substitute for understanding. Potential multiplies exponentially when you add wisdom to the mix. And wisdom can only be attained through experience: our own experience, and the experiences of those who came before us.

The greatest wisdom can be found in one of the oldest books in existence. Though it’s often disregarded as outdated and irrelevant, God’s Word holds the answers to every issue we face.

Relationship problems? “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins,” 1 Peter 4:8.

Money troubles? “Owe no one anything, except to love each other,” Romans 13:8.

Heath issues? “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones,” Proverbs 17:22.

As I continue with my personal overhaul, I refuse to mourn the passing of my tight skin and taught muscles. I’ll embrace the idea that like a fine wine, I taste better with age. And I’ll continue to look to those who have walked this road before me, and seek out their advice for everything from skin care to politics to love.

“Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day,” 2 Corinthians 4:16.

Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly perfect children, and far-too-many animals. Connect with Renae at www.RenaeBrumbaugh.com.