A voice crying in the wilderness

Archive for December, 2019

Letting go of the past

Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.
Ecclesiastes 7:10 ESV

I’ve been spending a lot of time this year thinking about the past – visiting places where I used to live, replaying video games that I played during those times and generally spending a lot of time reminiscing.

Yet when I do go to these places, they are not the same as they used to be. I walk the streets that I walked 30 years ago and though the location is still the same, the feeling is not. The houses have changed, the trees have been removed, the people moved on and changed. I replay some of my favourite games of my youth and they don’t seem as fun, so amazing or innovative anymore.

It took me a while to realise what had happened – so much of what I missed was to do with freedom and innocence; we could face the day with energy and enthusiasm, all time to play and no responsibility. We didn’t have to face the drudgery of a day job, didn’t know about or fully understand the corruption of the world around us. We hadn’t yet discovered for ourselves alcohol, cigarettes, cigars and bidis. We still had an ozone layer. Recycling was something that happened to hippies. Farmers understood the seasons rather than relying on technology to tell them what to plant.

We had hair and it was still its original colour.

Then Something Happened. We grew up. We became Adults. We became responsible. We worked 9 to 5 jobs, met nice girls, got married, bought nice houses, started (hopefully) nice families. Somewhere along the way, we exchanged innocence for seriousness, playfulness for diligence. We could still have fun but as the years passed, we were allowed less as fun somehow became undignified and inappropriate.

One day we came to a point in our lives where we started questioning everything around us – Is this making me happy? What happened to the joy I experienced as a child? Why does nothing bring me satisfaction anymore? We realise that everything that the world tells us will make us happy does not. Instead, it brings us more stress, more frustration and more grief. If we aren’t happy, it is something wrong with us, not the ideals that are dictated to us by the media, The Corporations. Here, take this medication – it might make you feel better now though it will probably eventually kill you…

We started looking back at what we used to love and found that didn’t make us happy anymore, either.

It is said that the memory is a great liar – we think back to the times we thought were joyful and see that they are empty. We look back with fondness at what were difficult times and see the lessons learned, the experience gained and the character developed. If we knew then what we know now, how different would our lives have become.

Truly, if we are to be real people, we should remember the lessons of the past but live for today for tomorrow is not promised. How many people have you known to plan for the future, to work hard and save much with the plan to retire early and in comfort only to die unexpectedly of a heart attack or be hit by a bus? Those who invested in property, those who worked endlessly and sacrificed much with the expectation of retiring at 60 to travel the world but were taken out by cancer aged 47? Instead, live modestly, simply and carefully – reject the false icons that clamour for our attention. Close your ears to those that tell you material wealth is the true indicator of your character. One of the many reasons I prefer to live here in North Mordor is to remind myself to remain humble and not envy the surrounding posh suburbs with their cashed up bogans, their trash with cash. It keeps me Real.

Driving an Audi, BMW or Mercedes does not mark you as successful, it marks you as a fool who doesn’t know how to spend their money wisely.

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
– Isaiah 43:18-19 ESV