These last couple of weeks, we’ve been reading from Ecclesiastes in the Eastridge Reading Plan. There’s plenty of wisdom to be found in that book, and while some of it is off the beaten path, some of it Last week, a verse from chapter 7 struck me:
Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?”
For it is not wise to ask such questions.
Ecclesiastes 7:10 (NIV)
I think this verse hit home to be because, as I get older, I can see the temptation to look back at years gone by and rail at how much better things used to be.
Things were “simpler…” “more innocent…” “easier…” People were “friendlier…” “less disconnected…” “not so busy…” And you know what? All of those statements ring with a certain amount of truth. But we can’t allow ourselves to dwell on the past and refuse to acknowledge both the present and the future.
My grandfather does this well. At 87, he can still spin the greatest stories of growing up during the Depression, raising my mom and aunts, and meeting countless politicians, astronauts, and other important people, but he doesn’t live there in the past. He appreciates the miraculous leaps in technology in his lifetime, and he refuses to forget that change can be good.
Respect the past. Cherish and enjoy your memories. But never do so at the expense of the gift of today that God has given us.
Believe me, as I get older, I’m learning to appreciate the present more and more.