You Can’t Go Back

by Terry Wane Benton

I visited the place where I grew up, Union Springs, Al., to see how things had changed after 30 years. The house was still there, the fence was gone, most of the rental houses to the left were gone, and the big Weeping Willow tree next door was gone. Fences were gone, and the row of Mimosa trees lining the front of the neighborhood was gone.

I asked permission from the strangers living in our old house to stroll through the woods to see the areas we used to play in. The big pine tree we called the "Tree of Ages" was cut down to a stump; the ravine in front of it was much shallower, and I could hardly find the pond to the left of the ravine. It shrank and filled in so that it was hardly two inches deep, and the pasture was no longer a pasture as it was filled in with more trees and brush. The pasture across the road from our house was filling in with more trees and brush, and thus, the view of the afternoon sunsets would have been obscured.

The town had changed tremendously, and only a very few people that I would have known in my time had stayed to grow up there. The church had moved to a new location with many deceased, and the recreation center was now gone, and a hardware store took up the whole lot where we parked as teens. The football field and baseball field next to the elementary school were gone. The grounds where we played marbles and other games were very different. Thus, so many things that occupied my memories of growing up were changed.

The point in all this is that you can't go back to the way things were. As we age, we like to reminisce about our good times and try to forget our foolish ways and foolish youthful mistakes. We like to think of that time of growing up, things we did as we played and roamed the area on bikes, and the wonders of nature to our younger perceptions, our dogs, cats, neighbors, and friends, and those we didn't get along well with, the fun friends at school and the snobs who thought they were too good to acknowledge us, and those we were snobbish toward because they were different from us.

Some things I would like to tweak and change a bit if I could go back, and things I really enjoyed about my time of youth. But you can't go back! What you have to face is the reality of the now, the present, and the little future in this vehicle that we know as our fleshly body. We are making our way to the end of a brief journey. We will face the Almighty Judge and give an account of ourselves (II Corinthians 5:10). The whole duty here is to fear God and keep His commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13). How we behave toward God and let His word transform us is all that will matter now and in the end. It is too late for some things, and not too late to get right with God and begin the transformation (Romans 12:1-3).

You can't go back but can move forward with great spiritual blessings in Christ (Acts 2:37-41; Ephesians 1:3-7). Today is the day of salvation (II Corinthians 6:1-2)! It is yours to make into the best day of your life! You can't go back, but you can make the rest of it the best yet! What will you do now?

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