There are songs that we love, songs that we hate, and songs that get stuck in our heads that torment us every moment of every day…It’s possible that the song ”Hello” by Adele is my own personal messenger of Satan. For all of you Adele fans, I used to like the song…Until radio and TV killed it. With that said, here is a tiny snippet of the chorus:
“Hello from the other side
I must have called a thousand times
To tell you I’m sorry for everything that I’ve done
But when I call you never seem to be home”
– Adele, “Hello”
Amuse me. What if we reread those lyrics to reflect our present selves talking to our former selves? Hello from the other side has a whole new meaning in that perspective.
As we grow older, our past selves become distant memories – reflections of who we once were in a different time and space.
I often find myself day-dreaming, remembering the person I used to be…The boy with dreams in his head, longing to be realized…The doubt, uncertainty, and fear of a soul prone to get lost…A heart that burned to know God, but then often betrayed Him in the same breath…
Hello from the other side. Here’s lookin’ at you, kid.
Who we are today is the product of the people we once were. The choices we made in our past have created our current experiences…We are what we choose.
When you look back on the former days, who were you then and what choices were you making? As you look into the mirror today, who do you see in front of you? Are you who you want to be, or is the face staring back one that is beyond recognition?
If I’m honest, I’m not who I want to be as I see my current reflection. In fact, I often wonder who that 32 year old guy is in the mirror…How did time go so fast? How did I end up here? The questions often drive me mad.
As I have obsessively thought about this mysterious person of my past and the person presently staring back at me, there are a few ideas that I’m convinced must be true:
- Life isn’t fair. Hardships, finances, bad breaks, moments of tragedy, and rejection are incredibly, painfully real. These realities do affect the future, whether we like it or not. People we love will not always love us back. Hard work won’t always be repaid. Bad things can happen to those who intended good.
- Our choices are far more powerful than we want to believe. Whether it was a choice to love, to lie, to steal, to hurt, to create, to be foolish, to be wise, to procrastinate, to fear, to conquer, or anything else within our making, we have created who we are now. We must own the choices we make, for we are not just a byproduct of happenstance. We must also evaluate what choices we are making in our present.
- God’s grace is enough within every success or failure in our lives (this encompasses the first two ideas above). When life isn’t fair, God can still bring good out of the suffering. When we make self-destructive decisions that derail us, Jesus offers to redeem the broken pieces for better use. When others hurt us, betray us, and leave us, God is still there in the midst of our pain. When we betray ourselves, God is still there in the darkness. We are still loved, even at our worst. No failure, sin, or rejection can ever hold back the furious grace of God.
Do you ever look back at who you once were, wondering what went right or what went wrong? Have you recently looked in the mirror, only to see a face that hardly resembles who you longed to become when you were younger?
What if we took those same three truths and looked at them as opportunities?
- Life isn’t fair. Since that’s the case, we can accept that our lives will not always go as planned, but that God can always redeem what the world destroys. We can trust God in the fallen nature of this world…He will make things right in His time.
- Our choices are far more powerful than we choose to believe. We are invited to be more intentional with the choices we make about who we will become. We have power and responsibility for the person we’ll meet in tomorrow’s mirror. Let’s make better choices today.
- God’s grace is enough within every success or failure in our lives. Whatever comes, we are invited to live in the grace of God, creating the best future possible within our control, yet leaving that which is out of our control in the hands of God. And when we do fail, or when life fails us, God can still bring beauty from the ashes.
Tomorrow doesn’t have to be like today. Yesterday doesn’t have to be our tomorrow. We are invited to imagine, to create, and to become more than we’ve have ever dreamed.
As you look to the other side of tomorrow, who do you see looking back?