Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other, “You stay here, I'll go on a head.” Okay, that’s a terrible joke. I know. I’m not quite sure what it says about me that I enjoy puns so much, but I do. And, the worse the pun, the better I like it. The one about the hats, though, actually makes a point (if we think about it once we’ve finished grimacing). We have a couple of options in life: Either to park or to drive... either to hang out where we’ve always been or to go on ahead.
A New Year is a great time to consider the importance of that second option. Time and the world inevitably march forward. Those things we cannot change. Our response, however, is up to us. Do we march forward, as well, or do we try to stay put?
As I age, I confess that I do often become nostalgic about the way many things used to be. Times seemed safer when I was in school. Certainly they were more innocent. Many of the people who brought stability, insight, and love to my life back then are gone now, and I miss them.
However, the truth is that not all of the good old days were that good. Senior citizen blogger Frank Kaiser writes: “The good old days meant... hard to push (lawn) mowers, polio and widespread prejudice. All in all, I’ll take todays’ life anytime. Heck, indoor plumbing and lifesaving pharmaceuticals make that an easy choice.”
Here’s the point: That which was strong and good in the past need not be abandoned when we embrace the future. The lessons we learned live on, even if the people who taught them do not. The core values which were bred in us need not disappear because the world around us is changing. Right is still right, truth is still truth, faith, love, and kindness are still our highest virtues. My challenge is simply to take all that was good from the good old days and use it as equipment to create good new days. And, another challenge is to confess the goodness that God consistently provides in this changing world. Frank Kaiser was correct. There are new inventions, new capabilities, new medical options, new communication tools, new modes of travel, new approaches to personal safety and national security, etc., that are truly good things. God is still blessing those of us who, as Jesus put it, “have eyes to see.”
Maybe the best approach to a New Year is to look back with thanks and to move forward with faith. Learn from yesterday to be prepared for tomorrow. Borrow from yesterday to build tomorrow. Celebrate yesterday, but embrace tomorrow. Look back with gratitude, move forward with anticipation.
As we go on ahead, I wish for each person who reads this article a truly Happy New Year!