Chaplain’s thoughts …

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Meaningful backward look

I’ve taught three teens to drive. One constant truth, in that terrifying process, is that one cannot focus too long on the rearview mirror without getting into serious trouble, an accident or dying. On the other hand, one must take a glance in the rearview mirror from time to time, to avoid accident or injury.

Learning when to look forward and when to look backward while driving is indeed a great metaphor for life. We all must learn when to press on toward the future and when to reflect upon the past.

Gordon MacDonald, in his book A Resilient Life, states that “Resilient people properly deal with their past.”

They do not let their mistakes simply be mistakes, rather they learn from them and become stronger. They deal with their personal and moral failures in ways that bring healing, restoration and health. Simply put, they don’t ignore their mistakes, they acknowledge them and endeavor to clean up the mess.

Conceptually this is easy. Make a mess, clean it up. Hurt someone, make an apology. Violate your religious or moral principles, seek reconciliation and resolution by returning to the basics of your faith and/or values.

It’s said, “Confession is good for the soul.” It’s good because it is the first step in restoring broken relationships.

Twenty years ago, the Air Force taught me the acronym FIDO, which means, “Forget it and drive on.” That’s good advice for many aspects of life, but for your key relationships with spouse, children or parents, it is dangerous counsel. Better advice would be “Deal with it and drive on.” While it does not produce a great acronym, it does produce healthier relationships and people that are more resilient.

I invite you to address the strained relationships in your life. As you move forward in life, remember that restored relationships and a more resilient you will emerge as you properly deal with your past. So remember to look back from time to time.

If you would like assistance in that process, your chapel team is here to help.

Thanks for your service and sacrifice.

Courtesy of Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Larry Fowler
56th Fighter Wing Chapel

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