Going Forward

“Ok, so I need you to watch for me as I back the truck up. I don’t want to run over anything or get wedged in. So, guide me in, please.” I hopped in the truck and pulled around to the woodshed to load boards for the project my dad and I were working on. As I backed between the pole barn and a large tree, I knew I was pushing my luck. Backing up is not my strong suit.

To further prove this point, let me go back sixteen years. My husband and I were fishing on the flats in his airboat and a terrible storm blew in. He dropped me off at the dock to get the truck and trailer. Lightning was popping, big ole fat rain was pelting us, and my husband was yelling directions out of sheer desperation. He was essentially sitting on a lightning rod with the airboat cage directly behind him and a metal steering handle in his hand.

I ran to the truck and lined it up perfectly with the ramp. All I had to do was drive straight backwards, right? Wrong! I jackknifed the trailer and ran into the concrete sides of the ramp. Again, and again, I tried to maneuver close enough to the water for him to drive the boat onto the trailer. Finally, after seventeen tries, wind roaring, and thunder rolling, I managed to barely reach the water and he was able to drive the boat out of the wind and waves.

Needless to say, backing up really isn’t my thing. So, as I tried to follow my dad’s directions and slink at an angle backwards through the narrow opening this weekend, I was extra careful. So careful, even, that I made the personal decision to stop before I was actually close enough to my destination. In my mind, we could tote the boards an extra ten feet more easily than I could get the truck unstuck from a precarious parking position.

We loaded the boards and as I put the truck in drive, I thought to myself, Wow, this is so much easier now that I’m moving forward instead of backward. Isn’t that the truth in life, too? Trying to navigate life, always looking in the rearview mirror, and trying to go backwards is exhausting. When we do this, we live in old hurts, see through broken eyes, and allow who we used to be to dictate who we are now.

What if we could lay all that old stuff down and start fresh? What if we could walk into situations in life and not constantly compare our now to things we used to know, do, or perceive? What if we really lived in the moment and experienced its freshness? What if we could only go forward? Imagine the freedom we would experience, the chances we would take, and the joy we would exude.

This week don’t let the things of the past dictate your future. Let that junk go and move forward. It’s always so much easier to go forward than backward.

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