As we look back upon the years gone before and take stock of our lives and begin to look forward to the coming year, what is it we think about. Do we see our time spent in worthwhile endeavors, adding to our lives and the lives of those around us, or do we just see a long list of failures and disappointments? Have we run over others climbing the ladders of success, or brought others along with us?
I have found in my life and the lives of those around me that we often get caught up completely in the plans we have, and our own personal hopes and dreams that we often forget about the lives and dreams of those around us. Those who are supposed to be important to us often are the ones who get trampled on the most. And the rest of humanity goes forgotten in the pursuit of happiness, and what we see as success.
The debt piles up as we attempt to keep up with the Jones’ , whom I have yet to meet by the way, and we try to make our lives appear to be successful, and try to make ourselves look like we have value and importance. And yet we don’t get value and importance by what we do, or by what we own. Winston Churchill said “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” If we simply focus on ourselves we can never truly build a life of meaning and significance. Just look at the people we admire through history. People like Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King. People who spent their lives in the simple desire of bettering the lives of those around them.
If we wish to live a meaningful life, we need other people. For it is only by our contribution to those around us can we truly have meaning. This may be just our closest family members, or it could be the lives of others we interact with. But only as we contribute to the lives of others can we truly live a meaningful life.
The nice thing is if we have chosen to live our lives spending on ourselves, and we would have a large group to keep us company, we can choose to begin again. We can choose now to begin afresh, and make our lives different and full of meaning. As Paul said so well in scripture “but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead”. Paul knew that focusing on the past, whether it was good or bad, whether victory or defeat, would pull our focus down and cause our lives to be mired in that which was unimportant.
Ever sat with someone who simply rehearses the “glory days” of old? You wonder if they ever lived beyond the days they constantly rehearse. And we all know people who simply rehearse their long list of failures and defeats, and as such never allow themselves to live life, and never attempt anything. Paul understood that our victories and our defeats have the potential to rob us of our future and our potential. And he simply chose to focus on what his future and purpose was, and laid aside what was past so that his past was not a burden to his future.
It is never to late to re-evaluate and refocus our lives. “Though no one can go back and make a brand new start my friend, anyone can start from now and make a brand new end.” ~Carl Bard