While Solomon urged us not to wish for the “good old days,” experiences in memory and life sometimes arouse us to “remember when.”
Turner Classic Movies had a program based on old movies about Dawson, Alaska, before and during the Alaskan Gold Rush. The films had been preserved in permafrost. They showed life in Dawson 1897 to the middle 1920’s.
So there Judy and I were, on September 9, 2018, sitting in our Oceanside living room watching films about Dawson Canada from 1897-1920’s. The irony struck me. People in Dawson packed theaters in the early 1900’s to see what was happening in the outside world. And we in the outside world were fascinated by what was happening in Dawson in the last decade of the 19th and early decades of the 20th century.
Or consider: in the manner of many others, we visited New Salem State Park when living in Illinois. There we saw how simply Abraham Lincoln lived as a young man. The writer may be mistaken, but it seems the movie Young Mr. Lincoln had him re-visiting New Salem from Springfield after it had been abandoned and broken.
In many ways the “good old days” keep recurring. And nothing in our determination to “forget the past and focus on the future” will ever eliminate those recurrences. –End Part II-
Believers in Christ have a Faith anchored in the Past; Geared to the Present; and Fixed on the Future.
I looked at the seniors in attendance at our twice-monthly meetings at Cypress Court. I saw accumulated years of experiences worthy of relating, if only they could share them. From which younger people could learn valuable life-lessons, if only they were teachable.
Christians also have past experiences with Jesus that bolster their daily faith. We remember when we were lost in sin and when Jesus saved us. When we enjoyed church services in small, quiet places—and large, noisy churches.
Ahead of us a new body awaits, in a new world, focused entirely on God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit, blessed Three in One. Sorrows will then leave for good, never to return. And ecstasies will begin, and last forever. Tears will dry and laughter will continue. Loved ones in Christ preceding us will welcome us, never to be apart again, ever, eternally. In those noisy, joyous reunions, and new acquaintances, we’ll experience an everlasting JOY.
Let us remember our past. Anchored in God’s eternal word, it cannot change, giving us stalwart, permanent teachings. Let us embrace the present. The Holy Spirit reminds us that even now we are God’s children and temple. And let us anticipate the future in a perfect body fit for a perfect world and people. That future casts a glow over our everyday life—that grows brighter as we draw closer to it—until, beyond the darkness of death its light bursts upon us with blinding whiteness—to be broken by God’s love into every color we know now and colors we can only imagine. Then...after that...well, you’ll just have to be there to appreciate it. –Fini-
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Ecclesiastes 7:10: “Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’ For it is not wise to ask such questions.” Maybe not, but it’s endemic in us to do so.
In reality, as I have proof aplenty in my file, the Past keeps coming back to us. It’s never so far removed that it isn’t quickly retrieved. Even if you’ve ever had a memory, that’s the past returning, however briefly. Yesterday was our past, and any multiples of it a more remote, but a still pervasive presence. A newspaper clipping of an event from yesteryear; a 90 year-old veteran of Pearl Harbor addressing school children about his experiences; Greek or Roman jewels or monies being unearthed in an English pasture: the Past returning. Nevertheless, Solomon urged us to avoid a fixation on the past. He could have profited by researching and living by his father’s faith in God had he not been so involved with wives and wealth.
This writer has a volume called The Good Old Days—They Were Terrible. It’s adapted from the expansive Otto Bettman Archives. It details sober appraisals of life in an early America that inspired inventors to create better ways to live, to provide adequate medical care, to avoid sicknesses. Let one example suffice. Villages and cities dealing with manure from hundreds and thousands of horses welcomed the horseless carriage whose only waste was gas fumes. Until horses became a means of entertainment, not necessity, their waste built piles that hooves minced into fine particles. Which became dust clouds driven by winds into open windows of the communities, settling over tables, chairs and dishes. –End Part I-
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