“Papa, why do you have that cup?”
“Papa, why you have no hair?”
“Papa, why is your car blue?”
“Papa, how did you get that owie?”
Earlier this month I hung out with my grandchildren, Soren and Ellie. It’s hard to believe, but Soren is six years old! And, like most six year olds, he knows just about everything. If you don’t believe it, just ask him! He is sure that he knows just what is made in all of the skyscrapers in Orange County. Like most little kids now, he is tech savvy, using his grandma’s iPad to build a city in the Sims app. He knows all kinds of things about all kinds of things, and he is more than willing to share his knowledge with “Jerry.” Yes, evidently, we are on a first-name basis…
Ellie on the other hand, is three years old and full of questions. Some of them are obvious to us older, more mature people. Of course Papa’s Scion is blue because that’s what color it came from the factory. Of course I have that cup because I was thirsty and needed something to hold my Diet Coke. It’s not obvious to me why I don’t have any hair, so she has a point on that one. A day spent at the San Diego Zoo included more questions than there were minutes in the day. I’m not even sure how she did that.
There is something inherently child-like and innocent about all of Ellie’s questions. She really does want to know the answers to the things she asks. Her brain is constantly looking at things and wondering about the stuff around her. Her sense of wonderment is amazing, and I kind of envy her for it. I wish I could go back to the days when everything was new to me, and I looked at the world with fresh eyes. I have seen a lot of things, and some of them I would just as soon forget.
Unfortunately for me, and eventually for Ellie, there is no going back. Outside of getting amnesia from a head injury induced by a herd of savage butterflies, I can’t go back. I’ve reached the point in my life where my memory banks are getting full, and I think they are pushing out old stuff.
I know a lot of people and churches whose memory banks aren’t filling up because they aren’t filling them up with new stuff. Like the guy in the Bruce Springtseen song, they live in the “glory days.” The problem with living in the past is that your future is ahead. You can keep looking back, but life is in front of you.
Paul told the church in Philippi, “Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Philippians 3:13, 14) Whenever I read that passage, it always stands out to me that he didn’t write, “Forget about the bad past, and glory in the good past.” No, he said “forget,” and then pressing on.
Whether you are a Christian or not, where are you pressing on? What parts of your life are you honing to make better? Are you pressing on, or looking back?
I used to love stories about how his ministry in the early days. He saw and did things that were amazing. The greatest thing about the way Grandpa told the stories was that without fail, his eyes would light up, and he would say, “But God’s best days are ahead of me…” Savor the past, but press toward the future.
Pressing on, even without hair… Jerry