“God pardons like a mother, who kisses the offense into everlasting forgiveness.” ~Henry Ward Beecher
New Year’s Eve can be the most excruciating day of the year for me. Forced to access performance professionally, I carry the spirit of evaluation into more personal areas, more-often-than-not a painful exercise. Finding it difficult to confine appraisal to the immediate year; thoughts frequently drift back over a lifetime, and herein lies the rub. It is far easier to lament failure than to celebrate progress. Disappointment looms large when moping over a big picture that encompasses missed opportunity, impotent decision making, intentional disobedience, and insufficient courage. Shadow boxing with the worst of me; I end up with a brown study of life with little reason to look up. Cruel truth is often convince myself I have failed at everything I’ve ever attempted; disappointment threatens to debilitate.
Thankfully, my grandson reminded me last night of what is so amazing about grace. He and my granddaughter were on the floor competing to construct the best track arrangement for a battery powered car manufactured to navigate the track. He tended to opt for steep inclines that prevented the car from making it over the top and around the course. Invariably, his car reached the same spot only to topple over and off the track. I waited for him to meltdown, an emotional throwing-in-the-towel, but he surprised me. Instead of quitting the contest, he said that he learns something every time the car falls off the track and adjusts the course accordingly. He said, “The chance to get better keeps me from giving up.” Deep truth from an eight-year-old—if only I can embrace the same. “Forgiveness is the giving, and so the receiving, of life” (George McDonald). We are not created to live in reverse. Our bodies face forward; our lives should as well. Each of us have reason to occasionally crane our head around to look behind, but the greater portion of our time is spent scanning what lies ahead. The horizon spreads before us, not abaft. Our past is forgiven and our future guaranteed.
“Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.”
(Philippians 3:13-14 | NRSV)