I have in the last couple of days found myself reflecting on the road we travel. The first observation comes from a TV show I was watching about second chances. On the show a guest was given a chance to live his dream of joining a NASCAR team. While training, he got to the last lap and suddenly his driving changed. The first laps were good, good line, good speed, good placement. But then he came to the last lap and he lost focus. He started looking around instead of looking ahead. He became more concerned with the those behind him than what was ahead. In the process, went from second to last, from good times to lousy. The observation of the trainer, "I don't think you are a finisher."
As I think about this journey we are on, it is so easy to get distracted by the stuff, the people around us, that we lose focus and don't finish well. Paul wrote, "Forgetting what lies behind, I press on toward the goal" (Phil 3:13-14). I am not in a race with others, only myself. The things that I are behind me often distract me, depress me, and can defeat me. It is all about the goal ahead.
On the other hand, the bombing in Boston has brought me down memory lane. Sherry and I living forty-five miles South of Boston for three years. Amber and James were born there. We have great friends from there. Most notablely the Peterson family. We spent many, many hours with that family. They are a second family for us. Add to that my Navy time, the experiences flying and fixing planes, and my shipmates. Those are important years for my spiritual formation. So while Paul says forget, he also in 1 Cor reminds us to remember.
I am who I am because of people in my past. Pat Birtch, Charles Krause, Garry Yeager, Ernie Chamberlain, Harold Ford, Bob Lowery, David Thacker, just to name a few. I never want to forget the lessons people like them taught me.
So I am left on one road, my spiritual journey. I dare not spend to much time focusing on what is behind me, yet at the same time I honor and remember those times. I am not racing anyone. I make no comparisons with others, people from my past or my present. Yet, I hope I stand on their shoulders, those giants of my past.
I stand today on my spiritual road. I am focus and intent on what lies ahead. I honor those who have gone before. I celebrate my victories and repent of my failures. The bombing was a reminder bell because it took me back to an important place and important people. I cannot live there however. I have a road to travel.