Facing the Past



I turn, look straight at my nostalgia, and I say it again.


Shaking my head like an exasperated parent ("Not again..."), I sigh and take the hand of my nostalgia, pulling it away from a painted mirage of the past overlaid on the present. We're here again – "here" being near a place or person undeniably laced with memory. Haunted.

"No," I sternly warn that desperate, hungry nostalgia. "You will not take this place and warp it through a fisheye lens of sadness." A deep, melancholy breath.

Nostalgia and I no longer square off like old arch-rivals. Now we meet up for coffee every so often. Like a distanced friend, I immerse myself in nostalgia’s presence only once in a great while. There are far too many circumstances flooding my senses in the present moment to lurk amidst shadows of past memories and miss them all.

Looking back can be dangerous. It’s impossible to grow when you’re fixated on fighting against the road you’re predestined to travel.

Nostalgia again: sinister, insisting, "Remember how wonderful this was?"

Yes, I remember. But then I remember this is not all there is, that this world is not my home. My joy and my life are grounded in redemptive truth that exists outside of time – outside of me. At the end of the day, it is not my own past that defines me. In fact, it is neither my own present nor my future that defines me, either. There is only one past event truly defining who I am.

The cross.

When the second person of the Trinity bore my sin and shame upon the cross, dying the death I deserve after living the life I could not, that, yes that is the past that defines me. I am not my own (1 Cor. 6:19-20), for I have been bought with a price – the precious blood of Christ. Upon His death and victorious resurrection lies the crucial hinge-pin of my life's very purpose.

I don’t serve the god of the past, my nostalgia, or lingering, leech-like pain. I serve the only true God, whose immeasurable worth is beyond compare; an infinitude of words could never do His character justice. 

I know I’m safe in His sovereign and omnipotent care. If anything, the past should have taught me that. Evidences of His work in my life are as numerous as the galaxies of stars He knows by name.

This life is pretty breathtaking. The fact that we are living, feeling beings suspended in space surrounded by a universe of fathomless infinitude only surpassed by the living God is astonishing.

The past, the future, and the moments you graciously spent reading these tear-stained words are all ordained by the Creator and Upholder of time itself. In light of His all-sufficient grace, a battle with nostalgia is infinitesimal since each memory is absolutely necessary to guide you to where you need to be. Press on.