I enjoyed walking down the path of memory lane yesterday as I pondered some of the special times of my past family and personal experiences. I had to laugh a little though. After I sent the blog off into the intergalactic reaches of the internet, I realized that I had written in the previous day’s post about “forgetting the past!” But I also understood that those poignant recollections of my childhood are not where I live today. Each of those memories is a part of who I am. They are portions of the foundations of my life that have made me to be the individual I have become.
My Mom’s East Coast childhood and my Dad’s West Coast upbringing both factor in to my genetic code! (maybe that’s one reason we’ve felt as at home on this coast as we had in California…) My parents are both first generation Americans and therefore their parent’s Italian roots and traditions held a strong sway in my childhood development. My parents were raised in almost polar opposite situations. My Mom’s Dad was a partner in a successful garment factory in New York City. Their family was very Americanized and eventually moved from Brooklyn to Long Island where my Grandfather owned several lots.
My Dad’s father came to America to make his fortune and when he was settled went back to Italy to bring home his seventeen year old bride. I didn’t know until recently that it was sort of a marriage of agreement between my Grandfather and my Grandmother’s family. Her family was not very well off and she had multiple siblings. My sister related the story to me earlier this year of the emotional hardships that my Grandmother went through upon her separation from her family and the move across the ocean to the USA.
After a stint as a miner in the Northwest, my Grandfather moved his family to Richmond, California where he worked as a gardener for the wealthy in San Francisco. Theirs was a very frugal life living in a small home in the Italian district where the neighbors shared the use of a vacant lot for raising animals and growing their vegetables. My Dad grew up to be a very self-sufficient individual, who worked hard for everything he did to provide for his family and left a loving and strong legacy for his children.
Like I said, my childhood is a very important part of the puzzle of my life, but again, I don’t live there today! It is part of my make-up though. It contributes to the way I look at life, make decisions and has fueled my ability to believe scriptures such as Philippians 4:13 that declare “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (MKJV) Memories like those from St Patrick’s Day strengthen my resolve to move forward in my current place in life.
Then, as if we were on the same wavelength, I get a package from my cousin and her family in California yesterday with a birthday gift consisting of a red sports jersey that declares “Property of Montgomery (high school) Vikings – 1971!” I immediately texted her to thank her and let her know that it opened up another slew of memories from my high school years. Those were also important years for me. I believe it was the time that I really came into my own. It was also the time that would change and establish my life forever as I met my future bride in our junior year!
I believe that the Apostle Paul is telling us to let go of and forget the negative parts of our past, the mistakes, the bad decisions and the things that we may not necessarily be proud of. I was thinking yesterday that our past would also include things that may have happened just five minutes ago! Scripture promises like I John 1:9 give us the instant opportunity to ask forgiveness for our mistakes and then move on from that moment on with a sense of total cleansing - a total disconnection from that wrong action - with a fresh anointing and placement of right standing with Papa God.
Don’t allow yourself to dwell on the bad decisions you may have made in the past or of the bad things that were done to you by others. The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown commentary says of Paul’s statement about “forgetting the past” in Philippians 3:13 that “Looking back is sure to end in your going back.” Looking back can also give you a distorted view of what’s ahead for you. It could be instrumental in causing you to make wrong decisions in the now.
Our new Mustang has a rear spoiler on the trunk that is barely visible from my side view mirrors. I can’t tell you how many times I have checked the driver’s side mirror and thought a car was close on my tail causing me to hesitate when changing lanes or executing a left hand turn! Those quick glances behind me have caused me to take incorrect actions because I am not really seeing what may actually be there! When I force my focus past the point of the spoiler, I can get a true picture of the present situation and am more able to base my actions on what’s currently happening in regard to my current set of driving skills!
I am one that likes to learn from my past mistakes and then move on from there! I have many opportunities and reminders that arise to fall back into the feelings of past mis-deeds by myself or of others to me, but I choose to NOT GO THERE! I am learning to just give those opportunities a moment’s laugh and then turn and move on! I want instead to not hold back but to “do my best to reach what is ahead.” (Philippians 3:13 Good News Bible)
So… in retrospect I would encourage you to be proud of those parts of your past that have helped to develop you into the individual you have become and to simply neglect the parts that didn’t help! Keep your focus on Papa God and what the truth of His Word declares about you. With that attitude you can’t help but succeed! Have a great day. Stay in tune to His Word, and keep declaring to yourself… “I am expecting to do all things today through Christ who is strengthening me!”