Looking Forward – Or Backward?
This week-end, Janet’s sister, brother-in-law and niece, Emily, all came to Indianapolis to get Emily settled into her dorm room at Butler University where she is starting as a freshman. It will be great to have Emily in the area – and I am sure that her parents will rest a little easier knowing that Emily has family in the immediate vicinity to attend dance recitals, have Sunday dinner and just know that there are people nearby who love her. It can be lonely as a college freshman…
Anyway, after dinner and a visit to Emily’s new dorm room, Janet and I got in the car to head back north to our home in Carmel. Janet mentioned that it didn’t seem like a standard week-end and I agreed. I attributed it to the unusual things we have done – visiting Butler, preparing for our own upcoming trip, and many business things that I have going on.
We started talking about memories of taking our own kids to college. First, it was Kristin, when she enrolled at Ball State University and several years later, Jill joined her there. The remarkable thing about it is that we took Kristin to college in 1993, the same year, I think, that Emily was born. And yet, it seems like yesterday that we carted Kristin off to college. Now I don’t remember some things about the past so well, in spite of what I seem to recall when I am writing my posts. But one thing I do know, I wish that I had a better recollection about the details of the early years of our children.
Anyway, as Janet and I were re-living the the memories of taking our kids to college, she mentioned that she is pleased with the things in her own life and wouldn’t go back and do anything different. I was a little surprised although I know that Janet doesn’t believe in guilt or in dwelling on mistakes in the past. She just has such a great attitude about life – including the faith perspective. She is peaceful about the decisions she has made throughout her life and wouldn’t want to go back and change anything.
I, on the other hand, regret many things that I have done in my life and wish that I could do some things over again. The truth be told, I have made a mess of things more than once and I do have regrets. I even think that I suffer a little guilt here and there, but I do know that nobody can live with guilt for long. Janet has been instrumental in teaching me that there is always tomorrow and that we can’t go back and second guess the decisions we made in our yesterdays.
In fact, I probably tend to dwell on the past more than the future. I am constantly reviewing things I have done and whether I made the best choices that I could at the time. The kids still tease me when I ask whether the boat we bought in 1987 was the best decision we could have made. Generally, I ask these questions of affirmation when I am not confident that I have made the right choices. Conversely, Janet really doesn’t ever go back and second guess herself. She commits to learn from the past, without guilt, and do better in the future.
While many people worry about their best days being behind them, Janet is focused on her belief that her best days are still ahead. She gets excited at the prospect of growing old together and how our lives will look years from now. I tend to worry more about things like mobility and the things that we will experience as we age. I also think a little about retirement and wonder what I would ever do if I retired. I just don’t know that I could bear not being busy.
Now don’t get me wrong – I would like to be able to retire – I just don’t think I could do it. And I have always been the one to have greater concerns about our health… So I think about what is to come, and all the miles that Janet and I have already travelled – with memories to match.
I envy her outlook about the future. It’s a great attitude. She isn’t wishing her life away and is living in the moment. What’s in the past stays in the past and the future is a journey yet to be realized. The verse for tonight reflects a similar outlook. From Ecc. 7:14, we are told, “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future.” Admittedly, I am looking at this verse this evening from a different perpective than I have before.
My encouragement this evening is that God has planned a unique and special life designed specifically for you. My prayer is that you will enjoy and rejoice in it and realize that God’s grand plan for His purposes will be fulfilled. Have a wonderful day in the Lord, grace and peace…