Last Thursday night, I sat glued to my television (in HD splendor, I might add), watching the Vice Presidential debate. There was an interesting back-and-forth that I haven’t heard discussed much, but it caught my attention. The Obama/Biden ticket has been doing their best to tie the McCain/Palin ticket to the Bush Administration. They’ve even gone as far as saying that by electing McCain, it would effectively be Bush’s third term. Where it got interesting to me was when Governor Palin rebuked Senator Biden for focusing on the past. Biden’s response to that was a pithy phrase which has been replaying in my head since I heard it.
“The past is a prologue.”
I go back on forth on whether I agree with this statement. I guess it depends on your perspective. A prologue is something which essentially sets up a main body of work. I do not believe that past failures condemn one to a lifetime of similar defeats. The context of Senator Biden’s use of this phrase was basically to do just that. In that context, I do not believe it is absolutely true. However, if we learn from past failures and mistakes, yes, it can be a prologue to a rags-to-riches story.
Every one of our lives is an example of this. The alcoholic or drug addict who comes to a place in their lives where they turn it around and beat their addiction. The person with a long trail of failed relationships who identifies their own shortcomings in order to contribute to and recognize healthy relationships. The person who is so riddled with insecurities that they are paralyzed by fear of failure that they don’t experience the best that life has to offer.
I have been contemplating this particular topic for some time, and as is becoming more commonplace in my life, that usually means that God will go out of His way to drive the point home to me. With that being said, guess what the new sermon series is at my church. Yep, Letting Go.
Yesterday, it was about letting go of your past. We are not doomed to failure and disappointment simply because we have some major events in our past which have scarred us. I think of the biblical story about Jacob when he wrestles with God and man…and overcame. That was an absolute turning point in Jacob’s life. After which, God literally changed Jacob’s identity. However, Jacob was left with a limp. The limp was a constant reminder, a symbol of that pivotal point in his life in which his passion drove him to unprecedented tenacity and boldness.
Learn from the past, but don’t dwell on it. Move forward. There is a reason we have only one set of eyes…which happens to be on the front of our heads.
This is my public declaration. My past is just that. Today is a new day. I am determined to be better today that I was yesterday. I want every decision, every word and every action to be toward my own betterment, and that of those around me. I’m letting go of the past and not dragging it with me into my future.
I feel better already.