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Meditations by John Dean

Monday, July 29, 2013

Not What I Remembered

(Isaiah 43:18 KJV) Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. 

It seems as though the older one becomes, the greater their need to relive their past. When I was much younger I used to think that the reason older folks were always reliving their past was because their present life was dull, cheerless and un-adventuresome.

However, now that I am older I have come to the conclusion that my evaluation of older folks was inaccurate. Even though there may be a measure of truth in what I thought…making such a blanket statement was truly unfair.

Perhaps they know something about enjoying the full measure of life (which includes the past), that we do not know. As a young man I did not have a past to enjoy so therefore I was only able to enjoy the present. As I grew older and learned how to dream I was able to add my future dreams to my present which broadened my enjoyment. As I aged I was then able to add my past, my present and my future dreams together for a fuller enjoyment. In other words my past (my memories), acted as a rudder on my boat (my present), that helped guide me to my future (my dreams), more accurately.

There are some things that simply cannot be taught…they have to be lived by growing older and hopefully gaining wisdom. Perhaps the vision of the old folks is much broader than we think.

Remembering and enjoying one’s past is not a bad thing, but to try to relive one’s past could prove to be disappointing. In other words, the past is supposed to be enjoyed through memory and not by trying to recreate it. When one tries to recreate their past they are often so disappointed with the results that they even lose the pleasure of remembering that particular event.

The fact is...you can never go back…it is over…it has even lost its luster…the romance of it is gone.  One’s only option is to enjoy the past through memory.

My wife and I went back to a special place of memory recently and the disappointment of it knew no bounds. I was aware that one could not relive the past, but I suppose I thought that certain elements of the experience could still be enjoyed…but that was not the case.

Perhaps this is all in the plan of God to keep us moving forward into the promises, pleasures and adventure of the future. After all, the Bible does say, “…the half has not been told.”  The experience of the future will also prove to be much more “age appropriate” than trying to relive the young romantic days of the past.

It is one thing to have a rearview mirror on one’s life, (to enjoy the memories of the past) and another thing to have a reverse gear so one can back up. Perhaps we should keep the rearview mirror and get rid of the reverse gear.

Father,
Thank You for allowing us to enjoy and benefit from the past. Help us to learn from its failures and be encouraged by its pleasures and help both of them to push us onward with confidence into the future that is prepared for us.

Amen

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