emory_lane.jpg” alt=”” width=”381″ height=”315″ /> I find it interesting the way that life sometimes takes turns you don’t expect but that turn out to be the right path. Yesterday, I installed new anti-virus software on my computer and ran a full scan. Seeing that this was going to take a considerable amount of time, I decided to “clean” my office. This is always a noble goal that is often not attained. This time was no different. While I can now see the top of my desk, I didn’t make the type of progress I had hoped. On the other hand, the time I spent took me in a direction I hadn’t expected.
I found myself in the middle of a walk down memory lane. Going through the cabinets, I found papers, cards and photos from the life of my ministry. There were notes of thanks and encouragement from my first call. There were photos of Colin and Johnny from my time in Mississippi. I even found the bulletins and sermon manuscripts from my first year in ministry. Yes, in the early years of my ministry I wrote out every word. (I might just have to break out that first sermon and use it again sometime.)
All of these images and touchstones from the past caused me to consider the varied places that God has drawn me in ministry. Each memory conjured up emotions that were connected to specific moments in time. Some of them were joyous times, like a flyer from the church in Columbia City which advertised a baseball game outing. It was on that outing when I met Sheila and Johnny. Other memories that were stirred weren’t as joyous. Such as the thank you card from a young widow for the support I gave her at the time of her husband’s death.
I also found myself questioning the things I have held onto. Do I really need to keep every magazine or sermon resource from the past 12 years? I am not a sentimental sort, and I would much rather look towards the future for my hope than the past. Nonetheless, there is a value in keeping some things to remind us of the times which have gone by.
The question I have discovered is, “What do I hold onto and what do I cast away?” This is a deeper question than just the items we hold onto. In our lives we find ourselves holding onto many “things.” We hold onto emotions, traditions and injuries. We hold onto the past like it is either hell on earth or a glory day gone by. Today, I want to ask you, “What are you holding onto?” Are the “things” of the past lifting you up or holding you down? Yesterday, I learned that there are many things from the past we carry with us that have little to no value in our lives today. There are things both physically and emotionally that we would do well in purging. By the way, can I interest anyone in an 18 year old biomedical ethics textbook?