A few weeks ago I attended a seminar in Snoqualmie, Washington (about 4 hours west of Spokane). My seminar started at 9 am, so rather than stay at a hotel the night before I decided to get up at o-dark thirty and drive. Personally I like to avoid o-dark thirty (more commonly known as 4:30 am) because I don’t believe that four should have an AM. However, there is a certain beauty of being out in the world before the sun has come up.
When I began my drive it was completely dark outside and would be for another hour and a half or so, but as I drove I began to notice a sliver of light peaking over the horizon as I glanced in the rear view mirror. If you’ve ever lived in Washington during wildfire season you know that there are few things more eerily beautiful than the vibrant red of a sunrise through smokey air. As I drove I watched the sun rise above the rolling hills of farm country and found myself in awe of the beauty. However, to watch the sunrise in the rear view mirror is a delicate balance. You see, rear view mirrors are meant only to provide a glimpse of what lies behind you, but if you look too long you place yourself in danger because when the human eye focuses on something everything else gets blurry.
Life is like that sometimes. The past holds many things that demand our attention: the beauty of the sunset on a season of our lives, the sadness of a loss, the happiness of a great moment in time, the fear of something from our past coming up to haunt us, the hurt that people or situations have caused us. Looking through the rear view mirror serves an important purpose, to allow us to see what lies behind in order to gain perspective on our own position in relation to the road and other drivers. To glance back at the what lies behind is okay, for we can learn a great deal from our past, but to dwell on them puts us in danger of harming our present selves.
There is an undeniable beauty of looking back at the past whether you’re looking at a happy memory or you’re glad to have simply survived a bad situation. May we glance through our rear view mirrors to gain perspective on our current situation, but never to dwell in it. It is the road ahead that deserves our attention, for while the past cannot be changed, the road ahead holds both dangers and opportunities.