Forgetting what lies behind . . .

Honestly, forgetting is easier than ever when the aging process kicks in and you forget what you did yesterday.  However, if you check the recesses of your closet or the boxes in the attic or the cupboards in the garage, you’re certain to find some special long-lost or long-forgotten “treasure” which will swoosh you back to a moment that evokes pleasant (or maybe not so pleasant) memories.

Such was the scene a year ago when my husband plowed through boxes looking for who-knows-what when he discovered a childhood toy I had hung onto and carted around for 62 years.   Angel Casey’s Playhouse, a popular children’s program back in the fifties, held an art contest with the coveted grand prize being a platform hobby horse. Knowing my propensities as a five-year-old to both artwork and competition (which surprisingly has never dissipated), my mother encouraged me to enter.  She eagerly waited for me to come home from school the day my name was announced on television as the winner.

It was probably the first, and subsequently only, award I won for my art.  Was it really that terrific? Not so much. You’d be happy to know my artwork has definitely improved over the years, but it certainly represented a significant accomplishment in my young life.

Yes, a good memory indeed, but like all things we outgrow or forget, the little hobby horse was eventually dismantled and stuck in a box to make the rounds from Illinois to Texas and California before coming to its final resting place in Washington. Hoping to surprise me by assembling this long-forgotten treasure, my husband was shocked when I told him that I no longer wanted the hobby horse and had planned on getting rid of it.

“But what about our children or grandchildren?” he protested. “They would love it.”

Had he uttered that at a moment of temporary insanity?

“Today’s children have zero interest in non-mechanical, non-technical and potentially dangerous toys,” I reminded him.

“Perhaps an antique dealer would pay big bucks for this classic,” he responded.

No, not even an antique dealer was interested.

Eventually I came to the decision to dismantle my rusty-hinged “prize” and carted the remnants down to the firepit one night.  Amid continuing protests from my husband, I threw the pieces onto the burning logs.  Although a slight burst of nostalgia hit me as the flames engulfed the little guy (whose name I couldn’t even recall—or if I ever named him at all), surprisingly I had no regrets.  The brightly colored picture I had drawn, now housed in the cedar chest, and the memory of it all were enough to savor.

Paul goes on to remind us in Philippians 3:13 that after we have forgotten what lies behind, we are to reach forward to what lies ahead.  What exactly is that?  What is worth more than all those wonderful accomplishments? What can take the place of prizes and titles and awards and degrees? He tells us in verse 8—the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus as Lord.  The same year I labored over that award-winning picture is the very same year I invited Jesus into my heart as Savior and Lord.  Ironic, isn’t it?  But how very special.  I have had the privilege of knowing Him for 63 years now.  Just as Paul confessed, I can’t say I’ve arrived or that I never wrestle with a desire for material possessions or personal achievement.   However, I am understanding the eternal rewards that come with knowing Christ more intimately as I study His word and serve Him in the new ministry to which He has called me.  Things that speak to His heart.  Things that bring satisfaction and joy.  Things that cannot be destroyed or consumed.

Got the urge to do some exploring through those memories hiding in your closet or attic or garage?  It’s good to know where we’ve been and what we’ve experienced, but it’s better—even heavenly—to reach forward to what’s in store.

Post by Nancy Vance




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