Danish philosopher and theologian Søren Kierkegaard once wrote: “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
Just yesterday morning, I visited for a short time with one of my dearest, long-time friends. The one who’s constantly in my prayers because of her serious health diagnosis about a year ago and her latest brush with a dire emergency that almost cost her life.
Since she was in the area for a short visit with her mother, we sat in my friend’s childhood home on the same living room couch where we spent many hours in the past chatting with one another as young girls, teenagers, and young adults. If the seat cushions of that couch could talk, they would divulge countless stories of our times together upon them.
Often when my friend and I converse, we spend much of the time reflecting. And yesterday was no exception. In many ways, my visit reflected the past, the way life used to be.
And since I brought my Little One (granddaughter) along with me, we glanced at even more reflections of our childhoods past when my wee one played with some old toys that have called this place home for numerous years.
As we were leaving, we walked outside onto the front porch to say our farewells. And that’s when Little One spotted my friend’s mom’s bright green gazing ball resting on a pedestal in the yard.
Little One was absolutely fascinated by it and laughed at her own reflection in the ball. Over and over again. And then at our reflections as well, going round and round the shiny orb never taking her eyes off of those images she spied within it.
It’s ironic that this week’s photo challenge theme is reflecting when I’ve been ruminating over that word – one which evokes a couple of meanings in my mind. Of course, there’s the obvious one of an image being mirrored. And then there’s the one that connotes thinking or seriously considering.
Like thinking of and seriously considering the past. Similar to my little one circling that gazing ball, often my mind goes round and round those reflections of times gone by. Over and over again.
Reflections of the way we used to be.
And that phrase prompts the ongoing radio in my mind to play an old song by The Supremes:
Through the mirror of my mind
Time after time
I see reflections of you and me
The way life used to be
The love you took from me
And even though that song expresses a sad tale of lost love, happiness ripped away, and painful reflection, I find valuable reminders in those lyrics.
Through the mirror of my mind
Through these tears that I’m crying
Reflects a hurt I can’t control
‘Cause although you’re gone
I keep holding on
To the happy times
Oh, when you were mine
Isn’t that how we so often view yesteryear? We attempt to remember only the pleasant moments and the joyous occasions when we reflect on times past. We keep holding onto those memories and that helps us through the present.
And that’s how my friend and I recall our childhoods. Contented times, hours of fun playing together as children, sharing secrets and dreams as teenage girls do. Easy times of no responsibilities, no earth-shattering worries or occurrences, an idyllic age really.
Through the hollow of my tears
I see a dream that’s lost
Reflecting back now as adults, many of our hopes and dream for the future did not come to fruition, but some did. And we both have had a blessed life, but not one without struggles and difficulties. This last year, my friend’s life has been a complete upheaval.
In you I put
All my faith and trust
Right before my eyes
My world has turned to dust
In one consultation with her doctor, my friend’s world seemed to turn to dust. And it just kept splintering into pieces, one experience after another sawing its way through her strength leaving mounds of accumulating sawdust.
Procedures, medications, treatments, hospital stays, medical emergencies, more hospital stays, therapies, home health nurse visits. At one point, when I sat beside my lifelong friend in the hospital, she confided her weariness over not having a normal life.
But here’s where my friend and I differ vastly from the song lyrics. Because instead of putting our faith and trust in another person (because honestly, we humans do let one another down often), we put our faith and trust in God. All of our faith. All of our trust.
Because He never forsakes us. Never lets us down. Never stops loving us. He is the Great Physician. The Healer. The Savior. The Lover of our souls and Listener to our prayers. The One who is granting my lifelong friend’s desire to start to feel “normal again.”
So instead of singing “reflections of the way life used to be,” I believe I will change the song lyrics to “reflections of the way life needs to be; reflections of the love God has for me.” And for my cherished friend.
“Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” ~ Charles Dickens