No Way Back

The river of time sweeps us along. If we keep looking back over our shoulder instead of where we are going, we might run into something unpleasant. Such was the case of a young boy at 9.

It’s been said you can’t go back, only forward. But when your years behind you are more than your years ahead, and you’re running out of runway in front of you, the mind tends to wander to the past. It was so when I caught a glimpse of an old hotel where we used to meet on Sunday morning. Most of the gang is gone now, passed on to another state of being. Here on earth, we call it death. Over there, I’ve heard it’s been called life.

Whenever someone leaves and we are left behind, it’s painful for those who have to remain and are relegated to wave goodbye. Whether travel, divorce, or death, when someone we love departs, it is hard on the emotions and soul. It’s hard on all parts of us, isn’t it?

Funny thing is, we can’t go back to the places of our memory. Oh, we can remember, and we can probably go back and find the place of our memory. But it’s only a dusty, broken down, empty room. We can learn from those times, but we have to live forward. Indeed, the river of time sweeps us along and if we keep looking back over our shoulder instead of where we are going, we might run into something unpleasant that could have been avoided. Such was the case of a young boy at 9.

We lived on a court. Not a basketball or tennis court, but a street which ended in a circular fashion. It was a grand playground since there was little to no traffic. In those days everyone knew each other and hung out together. Parents being around the same age, so were us kids. There were at least 10 or 15 of us and we’d play together all day long until it was time to be called away for dinner or some such frivolity.

On this particular day we were all playing a combination of hide and seek and tag when my dad, mom, grandma and grandpa came out the front door. We were all to go out and eat with my grandparents, but that foray was too soon to experience a jolting disruption.

I’m down the street playing, and I hear, “Hey Mark! Come on, it’s time to go!”

I remember and can still feel it like it was yesterday. I’m running full tilt towards the house, looking back to see if any of the other kids are chasing me. I’m running along the side of the street because we were always taught to not run in the middle of the street in case a car was coming. As I turn my head back forward, there is a tailgate of a parked pickup truck about 2 inches in front of my face and I slam fully face-first into it with my mouth and teeth taking most of the impact. There wasn’t even a second to raise my hands or slow down, it was that fast. One second I was running looking back, and the next I was laying on the hot pavement dazed.

I vaguely heard my mom screaming something and my dad calling my name as he ran over and helped me up. We didn’t go out to eat and once I limped to the house my dad went back out to the truck to find the parts of my two front teeth that I knocked out; cracked off actually. I don’t have any pictures of that to share with you. There were no cell phones and cameras were a luxury item. Even if we did have one, no one would have even thought to take a picture of me in that state. It wasn’t something they wanted to remember. In those days you took pictures of good memorable events, not just any event; unless you were a news reporter or something and none of us were.

I’ve noticed there are a couple of types of people and I’m keeping it simple, so I do know there are shades and it’s not that simple. But there are some people who seem to have an innate desire to remember the past as if there is some way that the memory and visit of it will somehow heal all the hurts and pain. Or maybe it’s an understanding that to know the past mistakes and regrets might keep one from the repetition thereof in the future. Then there are those who would just as soon never think about or revisit anything in the past. It’s too painful, what’s the point, it’s over and let’s move on… whatever the case may be. I’m not a psychologist and don’t know, I’m just a blogger in ignorance.

But what I do know is that no matter how much we may miss the old gang and the old times and the life back then, we can’t go back. The place may still be there, but the opportunities are not. We have to make the best of when and where we are right now with the people swept along with us in this swift river of time.

So, if you’re of a mind to do it, find someone in that river with you today and extend a kind word or helping hand in some real way. You may make a friend or at least brighten someone’s day. We were driving through a fast food place one day a few weeks ago, placed an order at the speaker, then pulled forward to pay. As I stopped at the window and went to hand the cashier my card, he said, “Well, a miracle just occurred!

This isn’t in the script and my brain kind of went "tilt". Since there was other noise going on, I wasn’t certain I actually heard him right and was trying to process what he meant when he continued. “See that car in front of you?” I glanced up and did. “They just paid for your order. You can drive forward.

I had heard of people doing this but never been the recipient of it and certainly not expecting it, so I was kind of in shock. “Really?! Oh my goodness, you’re kidding me!” I tapped the horn and waved but I don’t know if they saw me as they pulled away. It was totally a gift I couldn’t return and I felt awed, surprised, and so grateful that someone would do that for a complete stranger and ask nothing in return. It totally changed my outlook and emotions in that one moment and, obviously, I still remember it now.

Aren’t we called to reach out in kindness like that? I know we don’t all agree on everything. But we’re all in this boat called earth together and it’s way easier to bear with kindness and love than hatred and disrespect. There will always be those who don’t care. But I don’t want to be one of them. I realize there will be people who disagree with me and say it just isn't that easy or simple. But what if it is?

I believe that one day I will meet God and give an account of my life. But even if that would not be the case, I’d like to know that I helped people around me to be the best that they can be. That I stood up for the disenfranchised and broken and faint of heart. To me, it’s a lot better than making someone’s day worse than better. I’ll admit that I’ve had those unfortunate days and so have you. But let’s do something more than listen to a song about giving peace a chance and extending kindness to one another. Let’s actually do it.

Best to you

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© copyright 2021 h mark taylor

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