Set Your Sight On The Future

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The be-all and end-all of life should not be to get rich, but to enrich the world.    ~B. C. Forbes

How many times have we all been told to look to the future. Most times it is the right thing to say but it is said so often I believe it is losing its’ affect. The past is over but must be remembered even if it hurts. The past is full of lessons hopefully learned. If we haven’t learned the lesson then by reviewing past occurrences we can refrain from making the same mistakes.

It hurts to think about  our mistakes and it can cause us to have a lower self-esteem. We lose our confidence and belief in our own worth. That is where I think we must reflect on the truths of the past. At times we embellish the past and other times we might blame so much on ourselves that we really forget the reality of it.As a child I hated listening to my relatives discuss the recently departed relative. They made him or her out to be a saint. Honestly I admired much about these people but they didn’t walk on water and I wondered at the need of others to discuss their worthiness. It was possible they had many negative thoughts about the person when they were alive and now they were feeling guilty so they washed those ideas away and filled their minds with happy almost made up thoughts about this deceased person.

I do have faith in the notion that it is better to recall a person’s attributes rather than their detriments but hiding truth doesn’t always keep the lessons learned into perspective. If my uncle drank way too much and was abusive then to say he worked hard and deserve to over drink is a sham.

Recognizing the truth in past situations allows us to observe the goodness and honor it. We might ponder the wrongs and keep from repeating them. If we don’t accept our faults and our awesome qualities then we live with veils over our heads and doubts about any good in us. The mixture we have is ours to work on. Although we might not be proud of our questionable attributes, by seeing the whole picture we might advance our good assets and give time and effort to our lesser features.

I see life as learning how to play a game of any kind. I don’t worry that others play so much better. I set my sight on improving my own game. When I have improved and lose by three points rather than fifteen, I realize how far I have come and I am proud. It is not about winning as much as attempting to improve our good talents. The positive comment could be, “wow she had such perseverance and continually made progress” rather than saying, “she always lost the game.”

There is merit in us and we should be just as aware of this as anything we are hoping to improve. If I am impatient do I have to make others walk on hot bricks so as not to mention this? Instead I need to accept my faults  and improve them. Others are not my cheering squad nor my judges. I am the only person who must be pleased with me. It provides me plenty of time to work on my faults, recognize my advancement and without a doubt, have pleasure and praise for my good abilities.

My father was an extremely impatient man. He never took the time to calmly speak with his kids about anything until he was much older. He was quick to physically hit and yell loudly in his rage.  His kids were scared of him and psychologically damaged. I remember one time being at a county fair when I began complaining. He roughly grabbed my hand and yanked me away from my mother to walk me back home. He stated he was going to leave me in the dark in the house which I totally believed was haunted. As we approached the steps to my house in the thick darkness of the night he gave me one last chance to be quiet. I took it immediately and was so quiet after that I never spoke again that night. I still recall the fear.

My father was a good man. Despite some horrible things he did I can see his better qualities. At a time when people were very prejudiced he was not. He didn’t see color, or advantaged people.  People were invited to dinner almost every night. We never knew who would be sitting at the table. He was kind to drinkers who were numerous in our area.  he sold used cars and when drunks couldn’t find a warm place he allowed them to sleep for the night in his few cars. His only expectation was that they leave by morning so the kids going to school including his own would not be bothered.  They always accepted the terms. My father was an honorable man despite  his questionable handling of his children. No man on earth could fairly judge him but I know his life review was complicated and could only be handled by a higher being.

We are all complex. We can’t get overwhelmed when we fail nor can we ignore our failures. Better to acknowledge our problem areas and make as much progress as we can. There is much in us to be exalted and that we can never forget. It is easy for others to judge but they have never walked in our shoes. They have never coped with our struggles. Don’t beat yourself up as they say. Just never stop seeking to improve.

Don’t believe you must hide yourself because people would not love you if they really knew all about you. Who are they to assess. If they have been given so much more maybe more will be expected of them. We also can’t condemn them. It isn’t our call. When anyone fails to live up to expectations we are quick to make a mockery of them. We never take the time to study the whole of them. There is always more beneath the surface. Refrain from evaluating and you will be softly ranked.

Look towards the future always because it is a new day and time to be enriched more than you ever imagined. Make a difference in this cold harsh world by bringing and spreading some light in it. Life is about love, openness connections and acceptance more than competition winning power and control. When we die it is all left behind including the accolades. Only what we have left in the hearts of others remains. It may just be more important to love those kids of yours and spend more time with them rather than worry about the trivial tasks on your to do list.

“The Dash” by Linda Ellis

“I read of a man who stood to speak At the funeral of a friend He referred to the dates on her tombstone From the beginning to the end. He noted that first came her date of birth And spoke the following date with tears, But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years. (1934–1998) For that dash represents all the time That she spent alive on earth. And now only those who loved her Know what that little line is worth. For it matters not, how much we own; The cars, the house, the cash,
What matters is how we live and love And how we spend our dash. So think about this long and hard. Are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged. If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real, And always try to understand
The way other people feel. And be less quick to anger, And show appreciation more And love the people in our lives Like we’ve never loved before. If we treat each other with respect, And more often wear a smile Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while. So, when your eulogy’s being read
With your life’s actions to rehash Would you be proud of the things they say About how you spent your dash?”

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