The Rearview Mirror

It has been said that time is three-fold; we are conditioned by the past, live in the present, and are pulled by the future. When it comes to running lately, I feel as if I often live in the past. The treasured medals and ribbons from past events are presented in a shadow box in my home, race bibs and finisher certificates are kept in a file, and old, yellowed, race shirts are part of my regular attire. I cherish these items because of the memories that they invoke and the reminder of the great effort made to earn them. The story behind each medal or shirt involves a sacrifice of time, gallons of sweat, and discipline. They still serve to motivate me. That is why, much to the chagrin of my family, I still wear that 1995 Marine Corp Marathon shirt. It is ONLY twenty years old!
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Upon reflection, I probably do have a tendency to focus on the past a bit more than I should in the spiritual realm too. This can hinder my gratitude in the present and my planning for the future. Striking the balance between the three-fold level of time is key. We all know individuals who seem to highlight only past events (Remember when we…) and those who look exhaustively at the next thing (the grass is greener just ahead…). To keep the three harmonious, I pray by recalling blessings in life and interactions with others, by being aware of the presence of God, and by thinking about the hours ahead and asking for God’s guidance. This helps me refocus on what is important. A friend recently described an image which has been helpful. She explained that the rear-view mirror in her car is an important, but tiny, part of windshield and if she stared into that too long she’d drive off the road! While God is “outside of time,” I am not..so avoiding rubber-necking, looking ahead, and trying to stay in the moment require effort.

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