I’ve been meaning to write this post for quite some time now, given that the inspiration for it came with the recent lunar eclipse, but better late than never, right? (Funny how that phrase is becoming my mantra these days. ;)) Anyway, here it is:
You know how they say one should never look back? Always look to the future? Don’t dwell in the past? Go west, young — oh, wait. Wrong saying. 😀 The point is, there are many different maxims to describe the general principle that we should be looking forward in our lives and not back. Generally, I think this is excellent advice…but not always, and here’s why.
On the day of the last full lunar eclipse (I think it was sometime before Christmas, but don’t quote me on that), I rose early (5:30 a.m) and headed down to the river for an unobstructed view of what was supposed to be a spectacular event. We had a full moon that would be sitting low on the horizon at the time, making the moon — and its eclipse — look far larger than normal (a phenomenon science has yet to explain). At the river, I unloaded the dog and started out along the shoreline, walking west through the freezing cold toward where the moon would set. Sadly, the moon that had been so brilliant and clear when we left the house began to sink behind a band of cloud beginning to form along the horizon. I continued in hopes that it might reappear…or that I might have even the occasional glimpse of the pending eclipse. After about a half hour, it became obvious that this simply wasn’t going to happen and I turned and started back toward the car, this time facing east.
That’s when I saw the faded remains of what would have been an absolutely stunning sunrise if I’d only turned around a few moments before…or even glanced over my shoulder.
Making my way back along the water’s edge, watching the colours fade as the sun rose into the sky, I couldn’t help but ponder the lesson that seemed to have presented itself. I’d been so focused on my goal of seeing the eclipse, I realized, that I missed an opportunity I hadn’t been looking for — and I couldn’t help but wonder how many other opportunities I’d missed in much the same way.
My excursion that day made me realize that striving for a goal or dream is important, but it’s also only part of the equation. We still need to be aware of what is going on around and, yes, behind us, too. Otherwise we risk missing out on beautiful moments, priceless memories, golden opportunities, valuable lessons…and a whole host of other treasures life is just waiting for us to notice.
Sometimes where we’ve been, it seems, is just as important as where we’re going. 😉