If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:15-16
I recently had a conversation with my thirteen-year-old son that given his permission I want to share with you. As we were driving home one evening, he was feeling nostalgic about his cousin’s former home and all his good memories there. It was a sad moment with longing for the way things were and wishing they had not changed. I mentioned to him that it seemed he liked the sadness of the memory and that often it seems he enjoys melancholy thoughts. He agreed with me and said, “I don’t know why.” I was about to move into a lesson moment of how that is not healthy, and he should focus on the good things, but I stopped myself. Instead, I told him the story of when at four-years-old he told me he didn’t want to turn five. “I like being four,” he said. I then told him of the time when he was eight and while watching a father and son play together looked up at me and said, “I can’t wait to be a dad.”
It was a wonder-full discussion. Longing for the cherished moments in our lives is a good thing that we should not cast aside too quickly. It is an expression of gratitude for the people and places, for the moment and the memory. It is okay to be pensive at times. But we should not stay there. We must also remember that the past was not perfect, there is always a blending of joys and sorrows. We can use the joy and love in those moments to carry us through difficult times to come. Those moments enable us to anticipate the future with hope.
Those moments that we long to return to were leading us to new adventures, in new places, with new people. We cannot go back in time, but we can take the joy and love of those moments into the future with us. Our future will be richer than the past for the experiences of love and connection we bring into it. If we remember each day to connect and build relationships with each other and with our Creator, we will continually be led toward something better.
The following day on our drive home he asked me, “Is it weird that I am a little excited about dying? I kinda can’t wait to see what heaven is like.” A moment of melancholy transformed into a moment of hope for a future in the city that is prepared for him.
I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3:13-14
Can you recall a moment from the past that was so cherished you would like to return to it? Can you move past that into a thought of anticipation for a moment that is yet to come?