Finding No Way Back to Home

The river of time sweeps us along. If we keep looking back over our shoulder instead of where we are going, we might run into something unpleasant. Such was the case of a young boy at 9.

feeling invincible… until we’re not

It’s been said you can’t go back, only forward. But when your years behind you are more than your years ahead, and you are running out of runway in front of you, the mind tends to wander to the past. It was so when I caught a glimpse of the old hotel where we used to meet on Sunday morning. Most of the gang is gone, passed on to another state of being. Here on earth, we call it death. Over there, I’ve heard it’s been called life.

Whenever someone leaves, and we are left behind, it’s painful for those who have to remain and are relegated to wave goodbye. Whether travel, divorce, or death, when someone we love departs, it is hard on the emotions and soul. It’s hard on all parts of us, isn’t it? The funny thing is, we can’t go back to the physical places of our memory. In our mind, we can remember, and we can probably go back and find the location where that memory used to be. But it’s only a dusty, broken-down, empty room. We can learn from those times, but we have to live forward. Indeed, the river of time sweeps us along, and if we keep looking back over our shoulder instead of where we are going, we might run into something unpleasant that could have been avoided. Such was the case of a young boy at 9.

Hitting Reality

We lived on a court. Not a basketball or tennis court, but a street that ended in a circular fashion. It was a grand playground since there was little to no traffic. In those days, everyone knew each other and hung out together. Parents were around the same age, and so were us kids. There were at least 10 or 15 of us, and we’d play together all day long until it was time to be called away for dinner or some such frivolity.

On this particular day, we were all playing hide and seek and tag when my dad, mom, grandma, and grandpa came out the front door. We were all to go out and eat with my grandparents, but that foray was too soon to experience a jolting disruption. I’m down the street playing and hear my Dad yelling,

“Hey Mark! Come on, it’s time to go!”

I remember and can still feel it like it was yesterday. I’m running full tilt towards our house, all the while looking back to see if any of the other kids are chasing me; none were. I’m running along the side of the street because we were always taught not to run in the middle of the pavement in case a car was coming. As I turn my head back forward, there is a tailgate of a parked pickup truck about 2 inches in front of my face, and I slam fully face-first into it with my mouth and teeth taking most of the impact. There wasn’t even a second to raise my hands or slow down; it was that fast. One second, I was running, looking back, and the next, I was lying on the hot pavement, dazed.

I vaguely heard my mom screaming something and my dad calling my name as he ran over and helped me up. We didn’t go out to eat, and once I limped to the house, my dad went back out to the truck to find the parts of my two front teeth that I knocked out, cracked off, actually. I don’t have any pictures of that to share with you. There were no cell phones, and cameras were a luxury item. Even if we did have one, no one would have even thought to take a picture of me in that state. It wasn’t something they wanted to remember. In those days, you took pictures of good, memorable events, not just any event, unless you were a news reporter or something, and none of us were.

What if People are… People?

Over the years, I’ve noticed a couple of types of people. I’m keeping it simple – I know there are shades, and it’s not as simple as only a couple of types of folks. However, in general, some people seem to have an innate desire to remember the past, as if returning and remembering will make them forget and heal all their hurts and pain. Or maybe it’s an understanding that knowing past mistakes and regrets might keep one from repeating them in the future. On the other hand, some would just as soon never think about or revisit anything in the past. It’s too painful; what’s the point? It’s over, and let’s move on. Whatever the case, I’m not a psychologist and don’t know; I’m just a blogger in ignorance tapping out my opinion.

What I do know is that no matter how much we may miss the old gang, the old times, and life back then, we can’t go back. The place may still be there, but the opportunities are not. It is better to make the best of when and where we are right now with the people being swept along us in this swift river of time. So, if you’re mind to do it, find someone in that river with you today and extend a kind word or helping hand in some tangible way. You may make a friend or at least brighten someone’s day.

Same Old Line?

Some time ago, we were driving through a fast food place. After placing an order at the speaker, we pulled forward to pay. As I stopped at the window and went to hand the cashier my card, he said,

Well, a miracle just occurred!

This wasn’t in the typical script for a drive-thru payment, and my brain went “T I L T.” Since it was noisy, I wasn’t sure I heard him right and was trying to process the meaning when he continued,

See that car in front of you?” I glanced up and did. “They just paid for your order. You can drive forward.”

I had heard of people doing this but had never been the recipient of such kindness and certainly not expecting it, so I was kind of in shock.

Really?! Oh my goodness, you’re kidding me!” I tapped the horn and waved, but I don’t know if they saw me as they pulled away.

It was a gift I couldn’t return, and I felt awed, surprised, and so grateful that someone would do that for a stranger and ask nothing in return. At that moment, this small act of kindness completely changed my outlook and emotions, and I still remember it several years later.

Aren’t we called to reach out in kindness like that? I know we don’t all agree on everything. But we’re all in this boat called Earth together, and it’s way easier to bear with kindness and love than hatred and disrespect. There will always be those who don’t care. But I don’t want to be one of them. I realize some people will disagree with me and say it isn’t easy or simple. But what if it is?

I believe that one day, I will meet God and give an account of my life. But even if that would not be the case, I’d like to know that I helped people around me be the best they can be; I stood up for the disenfranchised, broken, and faint of heart. It’s a lot better than making someone’s day worse than better. I’ll admit I’ve had those unfortunate days, as have you. But let’s do something more than listen to a song about giving peace a chance and extending kindness to one another.

Let’s do it.

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