“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” G.K. Chesterton
Many years ago, I read a statement that profoundly impacted my way of thinking about that which is most important in life, especially the people in it. It went something like this…..
To better appreciate what you have, you need to become prematurely nostalgic about it.
The point was simple yet profound, I was encouraged to think about the people and things in my life as I would if they were no longer present, but while they still are. Let me elaborate just a bit. When you lose something or someone that you love deeply, it causes you to have a great sense of nostalgia about them, sometimes to the point you can’t remember anything bad.
I am kind of a sentimental type of person, I save letters, drawings from children, baseball trophies, fair ribbons, old jerseys, my letterman jacket, poems I wrote in High School, and the like. On occasion, I am prone to think back with fond memories of growing up.
In fact, just the other day, I saw a beautiful 1967 Datsun pick up which I pointed out to my good friend, Russell Smith. He didn’t seem too impressed even though it had a new paint job. If you know anything about 1967 Datsun pickups, you will know why he wasn’t impressed, but it brought me back to when I was fifteen years old buying my beautiful blue 1967 Datsun pickup. That was the truck that the stick shift fell off in my hand driving down the highway, and that I fixed with a sixteen penny nail bent at just the right angle. That’s the truck I proudly drove around town, frequently with the exhaust filled with holes which made it sound much more like a hot rod than it was.
I think you have the point, I was in the world of nostalgia where only the most blessed memories are remembered. In the present, we often find ourselves focusing on what’s wrong with things rather than what is right and beautiful.
This can be especially true in relationships that are close and have gone through some difficulties. The couple that doesn’t remember why they got married in the first place. The brother who has been offended, that Scripture says is harder to be won than a strong city. The child in whom has suffered in a continual state of hope deferred that makes the heart sick.
Getting back to the place of love and appreciation can be more than a little difficult, especially when trust has been broken. The truth is that I have talked with more than a few people through the years that remember, with fondness, those, who, at one time they couldn’t stand, or had been hurt by. Children that think back and remember the good times. Men and women that ended their marriage, vocalizing that they should have stuck it out because they really loved each other.
It’s a lot like my 1967 Datsun, I love thinking back now, but at the time she really caused me quite a few problems, which Emily’s dad usually ended up fixing. But then again, that really wasn’t that bad because I got to see Emily! I love that old blue truck!
What I am suggesting is that we start thinking about the good in those we have in our lives. The spouse God has given, the children we have been blessed with, and the parents who have put up with us, like we would if we no longer had them in our lives.
We need to get a good case of premature nostalgia, and I think we will love that which we should more, recognizing and appreciating the beauty of life’s blessing’s in the present rather than waiting until they are gone.
Here’s to your blue 1967 Datsun pickup. She’s more beautiful than you can imagine.
The Fundamentals of Leadership – Courage, Intelligence, Perseverance, and Responsibility.
Excerpt from Robert E. Lee on Leadership
Tonight, I have been studying for Men’s retreat, (or advance depending on how you look at it), that is coming up in just a few short weeks. Our theme this year is “A CALL TO ENDURE”! I realize that a theme like this might not be that enticing to some of the weaker sort of men, but those are not the sort that will radically impact their families, churches, and the culture around them. So, if you are the sort of man that is just sort of a man, than you should probably stay home. On the other hand, if you want to be ‘the man’ and endure for those all around you who are desperately in need of someone that will not wilt under pressure, then come join us!
Growing up, my parents, or some other wonderful soul, gave me a plaque with my name on it. It said simply, CRAIG “strong, enduring” followed by a Scripture reference from Proverbs 24:5 which reads “A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.” I can’t say that I have been successful at measuring up to that plaque that hung on my wall, but I can say that I am still trying.
One of the ways that our strength to endure is increased is through an increased knowledge of the truths of the Word and most important through an increased knowledge of Jesus Christ who is the Word. That is why it is vital for you men to invest your time, money, and energy into coming to Mens Retreat 2010. This year we are opening up the retreat to men age 12 and up who will act like men and come with hearts ready to be challenged by the meat of the Word.
You can pick up a brochure this Sunday at church to register ASAP. The cost is only $100 this year.