Business speaker Jim Rohn said, “Of the two great eternities that exert a pull on your life – one is called the past, the other is called the future – make sure the greatest pull on your life is the pull of the future. Because you can’t go back.” Paul, the apostle, said it this way. “Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the mark for the prize…” And let’s face it; Paul had a lot to try to forget.
John Greenleaf Whittier penned these words. “Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: ‘It might have been.’”
I love to recall things of the past. There are people and places and experiences of yesteryear that will remain dear to me until I am no longer around. But I dare no go back and try to relive that which is in the past.
I was visiting with a wise friend a few years back. As I was expressing one of my regrets, I said, “If only I had done things differently, things would have…”
He stopped me in my tracks. “Hold it right there,” he cautioned. “Don’t spend one second trying to redo what’s been done and past. You will be wasting precious time.”
Satchel Page, the great Black baseball player of another era, said, “Never look back. They may be gaining on you.”
Sadly, so many people spend far too much time looking in the rearview mirror of their lives. Oh, if we could be more like God who forgives and forgets. We humans sometimes can get around to forgiving. But forgetting? Now, that’s another story.
So, I have committed myself to spend much more time looking forward in 2021 than looking back. Here are some things to which I am looking forward.
I am looking forward to spending more time with my old friends. Someone has said, “There is no friend like an old friend.” One of the advantages of growing older is the fact you can have old friends. Young folks can’t have old friends. They are too young.
After my father died in 2003, my mother reconnected with one of her old friends, Mrs. Bill “Gwendolyn” Hawkins. They talked on the phone every day for about an hour around 5 in the afternoon – every day. All family members on both sides knew not to call Ma or Mema at that time of day because they were busy talking. Both were in their 80. They loved each other, and they looked forward to their daily talks. When Mrs. Hawkins died five years later, it was great loss to my mother.
I look forward to seeing our grandchildren grow up. They are like beautiful flowers opening up. It is thrilling to be around them, each unique in his or her own way. Lord willing, I will get to see them grow tall and strong.
And I’m looking forward to this year’s spring calf crop. There is nothing like the arrival of new life to shake off winter’s doldrums. Some of my friends and I agree that the arrival of each new calf is like opening a Christmas present.
I, too, am looking forward to growing as a human. And I’m still growing. I turn 70 this year, so I’ve picked out a half-dozen friends who are in their 80s and still growing. Lord willing, I am going to grow up and be just like them.
It was blind and deaf Helen Keller who declared, “Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.” I am looking forward to more of this daring adventure.
And in these days filled with uncertainty, I look forward to that day when “they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not rise against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” And the redeemed “walk in the light of the Lord.”
Jack McCall is a motivational humorist, Southern storyteller and author. A native Middle Tennessean, he is recognized on the national stage as a certified speaking professional.