Take a walk with me through one of my childhood homes, purchased from the elderly lady for whom it was built in 1929, when she was a young bride. The living room carpets, thinned by decades of shoe activity, still held their pink floral pattern. They made a perfect maze for Matchbox Cars! In the kitchen, the original Roper Gas Stove was still in use, and still making tedious the task of baking that perfect cake. In our hallway, chains that had once controlled the damper on the monstrous coal furnace still sitting in its own room in the basement, hung unused. And the old ringer washer that was once the latest in modern convenience still sat in a corner of the basement.
What a sad day it was for the widowed homeowner to leave the house that held all the memories of her last 42 years. I can only imagine what that felt like for her, knowing that our family would make changes in paint color, carpet, and appliances. But the time had come for her to move on to the next portion of her life.
Putting the difficulties of the past behind us can be difficult, but remembering the happy times is healthy and even encouraged by God. The bible actually tells us to do both!
Paul had much to let go of from his life before Christ intervened, but he let go of what had been forgiven and moved forward in his new faith:
Not that I have already obtained it [this goal of being Christlike] or have already been made perfect, but I actively press on so that I may take hold of that [perfection] for which Christ Jesus took hold of me and made me His own. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, Philippians 3: 12-13
King David remembered the joy of leading crowds of worshipers to God’s house, so much so that he comforted himself with those joyous memories when his soul was downcast:
These things I [vividly] remember as I pour out my soul; How I used to go along before the great crowd of people and lead them in procession to the house of God [like a choirmaster before his singers, timing the steps to the music and the chant of the song], With the voice of joy and thanksgiving, a great crowd keeping a festival. Psalm 42:4
Sometimes, we need to leave the former things of our lives with God, trusted to His care and wisdom. And sometimes we honor Him when we remember His loving kindness towards us. It is good to remember, and forget!