I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” Philippians 3:13
Twenty-two years ago, we moved to Harrisburg. More specifically we moved to 217 West Poplar Street. The house had been vacant for several years and we had a lot of work to do—inside and out. Our lawn, or perhaps yard would be a better word, was a collection of weeds. Except for one clump of daylilies, there was nothing—just a healthy crop of weeds and crabgrass. Now some would see that as a problem…an overwhelming one at that. But what they would see as a problem—my wife, Judy, saw as an opportunity. Just like an artist with a blank canvas, she went to work.
First you need to know that Judy has a green thumb—figuratively speaking. She has the amazing ability to plan and plant flowers and make gardens. So, soon after we moved in, she set about turning the house into a home and the yard into a tapestry of flower beds. Before long, there were flower gardens filled many beautiful blooms. Things were definitely looking up.
That year, I believe in the fall, we planted a pink dogwood tree. Well, it might be better described as a pink dogwood twig. Now you might know that dogwood trees are just a little finicky. You have to cuddle and nurture them, or they will take their ball and go home. Well, we took good care of the little dogwood tree, and it grew. I can remember after about three years it finally bloomed! It continued to grow and before long it was a real tree. Judy and I were so proud.
After fifteen good years, our pride and joy started looking a little sick. There were fewer leaves and the leaves it had were just not healthy. I had a hunch that our dogwood tree was “checking out” and sure enough that spring it gave up the ghost. Apparently, an insect called a bore decided to bore into our tree. Why? Well, I guess he was just bored. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. After it was apparent that the tree was dead, I remember saying to Judy that I just couldn’t imagine the front yard without it.
Well, even after it died, I let it stand for several months (hoping for a resurrection?) but finally decided to take it down. I had long ago given away my he-man chainsaw, so armed with my lobbers and—get ready—my saws-all, I tackled the tree. Limb by limb, slowly the tree came down. It was a sad moment but soon after I was done, we looked and both of us commented how much better it looked without the dead tree there. Did you catch that? I couldn’t imagine it gone and then I couldn’t imagine it there! What was the difference? Life and death.
You see, alive the tree was an asset—it added to our yard. In the spring it had beautiful blooms and, in the fall, it had red leaves and berries. Once it died, well, it was a liability. I’m not sure why I left it standing as long as I did but truthfully it was better gone. Looking back, I began to wonder how many things in our life that were once an asset have now become a liability? The truth is times change, we change and sometimes we need to be willing to let go. I know in view of 2020; it was very hard to let go of 2019. We held on to that old normalcy with a death grip. But no matter how hard we grasped, it slipped like beach sand through our fingers.
So, is there something that was good for back then but is pulling you down now? Is it time to let go of an old friendship? An old habit? An old addiction? The truth is if we think about it, all of us have something that we need to be willing to let go of—and no, your spouse and kids don’t count! Smile. Our friend Paul, one of the main writers of the New Testament part of the Bible said he was going to let go of the past and reach for the future. Now that is good advice. As we journey in life let’s learn and perhaps honor the past but be ready and willing to embrace the future. Sound a little frightening? Don’t worry you don’t need to face it alone. He’s got this. Bro. Dewayne