By: Dr. Rob Helton

Typically, the older you get the fewer new experiences you have.  Remember when you were a child and almost every experience was new?  The first day of school, the first vacation to the mountains or the beach, the first trip to the dentist… every thing was new and exciting!  (The trip to the dentist, maybe not so much.)

I recently read an article by Beth Belle Cooper entitled Novelty and the Brian: Why New Things Make Us Feel So Good.  It had a lot of big words in it that I didn’t understand, like “hippo-campus” and “amygdala,” but I think I got the main point.  New experiences are a good thing.  In fact, according to Beth Belle Cooper, when you try something new the brain releases a chemical called dopamine.  That’s the “feel good” chemical that your brain releases when you exercise.  So, here’s the take away.  If you try new things you don’t have to exercise.  Well, maybe that’s not exactly what the article said, but you get the point.

As you know, Cindy and I are smack dab in the middle of a new experience.  And so are you!

Being the pastor (and pastor’s wife) of St. Paul’s Reformed Church is definitely a new experience.  Although I have been a pastor for nearly 30 years, coming to a new church, meeting new people, experiencing new traditions…these are all new experiences for us.  It can be challenging, intimidating and sometimes exhausting!  But it is also exciting, exhilarating and enjoyable!  The dopamine and the Holy Spirit are doing their job!

Like I said, this is a new experience for you too.  I understand that trying to get to know a new pastor and maybe trying to get used to doing some things differently can also be challenging, intimidating and exhausting (maybe even frustrating).  But hopefully this new experience will also be exciting, exhilarating and full of joy!

So, I want to thank you for making Cindy and I feel at home.  We’re grateful for the privilege of knowing you.  Our hope is to come to know each of you better over time.  Over time, we hope our relationships with each of you will deepen and that with each passing year we will all look back on the Spring of 2109 and be full of gratitude for this new experience.





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