Someone loaned me some books of fascinating old newspapers from my city that dated back to the 1940’s. I enjoy local history and seeing ow people used to live, what they paid for rent and such, and seeing the old fashions, etc. I posted some photos from these newspapers on a history page for our city with photos of real estate ads back in the 40’s. It was shocking to see how far above just inflation prices have gone. Many were interested in what the photos revealed.
But the newspapers were crumbling around the edges. They also reeked of mildew. After a day or two, I couldn’t take it anymore and put the large books of newspapers back in my van to return to the owner.
I vacuumed up the crumbles of old newspaper on my floor and coffee table at home and drove around for a few days with the newspapers in the back of my van, intending each day to return them. I procrastinated. But my daughter and I started sneezing in the van and the mildew smell got overpowering.
I finally made a point to return the disintegrating newspapers and to vacuum out my van. The thought hit me as I cleaned up the remnants of the past from my van. This is what we do in our lives at times. We get too wrapped up in the past. We carry around in our minds and hearts old, moldy things that no longer have any relevance to our lives. If we don’t get the past out and clean up the remnants, the past can make us sick. Literally.
The past can so enthrall us and interest us that we never look up into the present. We’re so busy looking in the rear view mirror, trying to understand that view, that the broad view of the windshield – the road in front of us – totally misses us. If we did this while literally driving a car, we would end up in the ditch or worse.
I’m hoping to embark on a fresh campaign of downsizing and removing a lot of things saved from our home. It’s a physical way of driving home this truth. The past has it’s place, but it isn’t supposed to be carried around with us, making us sick. The past has its place. We can acknowledge it, good or bad, but then we need to look up to what God has for us in this day. We cannot afford to waste our lives so caught up in the lives of those who already made their choices and lived and died. These are our lives, given us by God. The question I am asking afresh each day is this: What do I do with my life today, Lord?