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May joy continue to abound for you, no matter your age.
Whitney was three when she came to worship at First Congregational church for the first time. When Vicky, the southern Baptist who led the music at First Church, began to play the closing hymn, Whitney left her pew and started dancing in the aisles.
It was uncontained and unmitigated joy – an enthusiasm that had not yet learned about the expectations we place on each other to contain our joy.
I knew one thing, and wished for another. What I knew is that if Whitney kept coming to church, she would be taught not to dance like that.
What I wished for was that she would become our teacher.
Henry David Thoreau once wrote that “none are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.”
Do you remember chasing monarch butterflies as a child?
Do you remember laughing out loud during Saturday morning cartoons?
Do you remember the irresistible urge to whisper a funny joke to a classmate during study hall?
Do you remember the streaks of chocolate goo that covered your cheeks as you licked the batter from the beaters when mom was baking a cake?
Do you remember that sleepless night in the long hours between bed-time Christmas eve and the wake-up call Christmas morning?
Do you remember the thrill of hearing your favorite athlete hit a homerun, score a touchdown, do a triple toe loop, serve the perfect ace, or score on a cracker from 30 yards out?
Do you remember holding the coins in your hand that represented your weekly allowance, and walking into the candy store knowing you could buy whatever you wanted with that hard earned cash?
Do you remember the gentle hands on your back pushing you on the swing, higher and higher with each pass?
Do you remember the exquisite tension of standing in line for the roller coaster at the amusement park; and the thrill of finally daring to throw your hands in the air as you screamed your way down the long hill with the hairpin curve at the bottom?
Do you remember packing the pale and shovel with the picnic basket and cooler for the trip to the beach?
Do you remember singing verse after verse of 100 bottles of beer on the wall during the long car ride to that day’s vacation destination?
Do you remember standing in a long line to be the first to see that latest blockbuster at the movie theater?
Do you remember standing at the merch table after the concert hoping to get a photo with or an autograph from the performer whose music you adore?
Think again on all these things – those that make you tingle with excitement, bring a quick smile to your face, or make your feet go happy with dance.
Think about Whitney, who at three couldn’t imagine having to contain that joy while sitting with others worshiping the one who provides all such blessings.
And think again about the words of Thoreau: “none are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.”
May joy continue to abound for you, no matter your age; and may your happy feet not be silenced on this, your journey Into the Mystic.