In October, Pat and I attended a concert by folksinger Tom Paxton. He was giving one of his last touring concerts before entering into a mode of semi-retirement (simply put, he won’t be touring as much as he has been). He was a bit nostalgic throughout the concert as he paid tribute to his many friends over the years and to his wife who died several years earlier. At the same time, he apologized for being nostalgic because he noted it’s easy to get stuck in the past when we need to move forward in good ways. But then he said, “I guess it’s okay to look back as long as we don’t stare.”
We are now making that familiar transition from one year to the next. 2015 is behind us and 2016 is before us. Every time we say “goodbye” to one year and “hello” to the next, we do so with varied reactions. For some, 2015 may have been a great year, while for others it may have been difficult. Whether or not it was a great year or a challenging one, it is important to look back on the lessons we learned and recall the more positives things that we experienced. However, Paxton’s words may be helpful here. It’s okay to look back on 2015 and to reminisce as long as we don’t stare.
During the coming year, many of us will face some changes. Like Paxton, I will enter into a new chapter of semi-retirement. Green Tree will enter the search process for a new pastor. And when we find ourselves facing significant change, it is tempting to look back and to remember the good old days. Again, that’s okay as long as we don’t stare.
Once again, we look forward to a new year coming. We look forward to the opportunities and the good fortune a new year may bring. We hope and pray that we will be able to deal with any challenges and adversity that may emerge in the year ahead. Regardless of what we may face in the coming year, we may want to look back and recall past memories. Doing so may give us comfort and joy-and that’s okay, as long as we don’t stare.