Choose ‘now’ over nostalgia

During a reunion last year at the graduate school where I completed a master of divinity degree, the seminary’s president preached a sermon that touched me deeply. Many alumni were unhappy about the school’s recent decision to sell its campus and affiliate with a university in another state. Some of my classmates were so displeased with the decision that they had not attended the reunion. I could relate to some of their sentiments; we had spent years on this small campus, and it was a beloved place for many of us. To let it go was difficult.

When the president cautioned that nostalgia can be a temptation—one that we need to resist—I sat closer in my chair and started to take notes. What he said sounded familiar: how we can sometimes idealize the past and long for a time that seemed better compared to our present circumstances, but perhaps never existed other than in our imagination. And he emphatically stated that our job is to discern what God is calling us to do now and to “get with the program!”

Those words rang so true to me because there have been plenty of times when I’ve longed for “the good old days” and struggled to accept my present situation, robbing myself of the promise of that moment. I even have a memory from my ninth birthday of telling my mom that I really didn’t want to be nine because eight had been so fun!

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January 16, 2017

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