Do you ponder long-ago scenes, sometimes with regret? Me, too. In fact, I have a yellowed Peanuts cartoon with which I identify. In it, Charlie Brown is on the pitcher’s mound as Lucy hands him the ball.
“Sorry I missed that easy fly ball, Manager,” she says. “I thought I had it, but suddenly I remembered all the others I’ve missed.”
As she turns away, she says, “The past got in my eyes.”
One morning shortly after I clipped the cartoon, I lived Lucy’s attitude. I was playing doubles tennis with a new partner, Iris. I missed a perfect forehand, then grumbled and apologized, embarrassed I had performed poorly.
I missed the next shot as well. Again, I apologized.
Iris said softly, “Play the next ball, Sandra.”
The next ball? Of course. I had been so intent on mentally replaying the missed shots that I missed the next ones—just like Lucy.
Unfortunately, I identify with the past getting in my eyes in more than just sports. But I’m learning. For me the first step is to ask the Lord to help me look at the event again, ask His forgiveness if needed and release the scene to Him. Memorizing Philippians 3:13 has helped, too: “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,”
The image of “straining toward” the future instead of being bound to the past makes me take a deep breath and smile. Yes, freedom is just a prayer away.
I’m interested in what you think about the power of the past. What insights do you have for friends who dwell on long-ago scenes?