I heard a wise old saying the other day. It went something like, “I wish there was a way to know that you’re in ‘The Good Old Days’ before you’ve actually left them.” Wait, that’s not an old saying, it was one of the last lines from the character Andy Bernard from the TV Series “The Office” in the last episode before it went off the air. So, it may not be sage wisdom from the ages, but it’s still poignant and quite true. We often don’t realize the full meaning of what we are experiencing in any given day, year, or season of our life until it has past. This is among the most bittersweet aspects of our lives as human beings. It can be frustrating because we often look back and wish we had really appreciated something when we had it. Why was I so anxious about so many things that didn’t matter? Why didn’t I realize what a great opportunity that was? Why didn’t I appreciate having that loved one in my life before it was too late? But it’s not all sad. There is a beauty and a comfort in the fact that we can see more clearly in hindsight. It makes us more than just machines going through the motions, moving from one experience to the next. We can look back and see that what may have seemed like a very basic, mundane conversation, ordinary relationship or experience had much more to it. We can see how we’ve grown since then and were shaped by it. The fact that a person’s meaning to us can become more pronounced in their absence, or after the passage of time, gives us a glimpse into the eternity we are created for – that what we see right now isn’t all there is to reality.
Christians certainly believe and hope in an eternity beyond this earthly life.
Christians are promised by Jesus Christ, whom they believe in and worship as the Son and Word of God, that “whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). But this everlasting life is an even greater promise than just going to Heaven after one dies. It is a promise that life here and now can become more and more a window into that eternal reality. We get a taste of that reality when we perceive a greater meaning about a particular time in our lives, or when we still feel a close connection with a departed loved one through our memories of them. When Jesus Christ came to be with us, in our human condition, He came to sanctify everything we experience. Jesus even turned death into a place of life through His death on the Cross and Resurrection from the dead. God does not order nor rejoice in our suffering, but He does enter into it with us, to show us that there can be meaning, even life in the midst of our hardest days. When we begin to see all things through the lens of the Risen Lord Jesus Christ, we begin to see eternity in more and more of our moments on this earth.
I think its Tom Petty who once sung the line “The Good Old Days may not return”. And it’s true, we don’t ever get the moments of our lives back, even if we wish we could. But that should serve as a reminder to live each day with an eye to the critical importance of each relationship, each word and action. To learn to live as Christ taught and lived is to learn to value each moment, each person as if it were always “The Good Old Days”, the best and most important moments of our lives. It is how He lived when He was on earth, showing care and revealing the eternal significance of each encounter. So, maybe, by drawing nearer to Christ, we can start to see that every day can be “good”.