November 26, 2008

Potholes on Memory Lane

Ah, memories. This morning I set out for a jog from my parents house. While I was in college they decided that the house I grew up in wasn't big enough anymore (not that it was big enough to begin with) so they built a new house a few miles away. Later, they decided that house was too big - at least having an upstairs that was empty was too much - so they built another house. This one wasn't bigger, just nicer. This house...I loved! But then Dad had his accident, the mortgage was too much, the yard was a headache, the pool - well, you get the picture. So finally, after living in someone's pool house, living in someone else's aging parents home, and a rental, they found THIS house. And it is exactly 1.5 miles from the house where I grew up. Need an example of things coming full circle!

OK, so why I gave the History of the Mayfield Homes lesson was to say that my morning jog took me past a lot of memories: my old house, my elementary school, the rec center where I worked for years and (more importantly) fell in love with the most amazing woman on the planet, Shipley's Donuts (yummy!), and a slew of old friend's houses. But holy cow, was it weird. 

I ran by one of my buddy's houses and saw some strange woman coming out, getting in her car, probably headed for work. I wanted to run up and say, "Hey, what were you doing in there?" Thankfully I didn't follow my impulse. (Awkward)
I knew he didn't live there anymore. He lives 3 hours from here! But my emotions didn't know what to do with some unknown imposer coming out of a place where my brain said she shouldn't have been.

I also noticed that so many of the places I used to think were huge had been reduced to smaller versions - like I was running through a mini-city, like the ones they make for those models of things they're going to build. And several of the stores and houses that used to be well taken care of and worth looking at now appeared as though someone had been dumping rust and mud on them and birds were using them for target practice. Things were not matching up to my memories.

As I worked through Haggai several weeks ago I was reminded that, while God takes us through circumstances & relationships for reasons and wants us to learn from them and cherish them, we cannot live in the past. The Israelites were so hung up on how the temple used to look that they were grieved by how much smaller and less spectacular the new sanctuary was shaping up to be. God comes walking into the cool of their day and tells them to "Take courage" because "the future glory of this temple will be greater than it's past...." He's trying to tell them, "I know the past was great...but you can't live there. It may be inconceivable to you, but what I have ahead for you is even better than what's behind!"

Don't let the good "then" cause you to miss the better "now".

I cherish and treasure where I'm from, the places and events that shaped me, and all that lies behind me - even if there are a lot of potholes on memory lane. I make the decision to learn from those times and places and people. But I can't live there. God is a God of remembering, but He asks and charges us to remember so that it shapes who we are and who we're becoming. He is the God of the NOW and the future. Jesus has not returned for us - His people - yet, and so we know that not everyone has heard the Gospel. Now is the time to live for NOW...and for the day that is dawning. Whatever may be anchoring your backside to the good old days, you better shake it loose and break free now! There is much work to do for the King. We have been given much is expected!

Tomorrow, I'm running in the opposite direction. In this town, memory lane runs through about 4-5 zip codes. Who knows what potholes I'll step in! 

Luke 10:1-12
Matthew 24:14, 28:18-20

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