Tag Archive: back to the future


“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”  [John F. Kennedy]

we can often fall into the habit of thinking of the past with a negative light in terms of missed opportunities or  things done to us or perhaps people we might have hurt or disappointed or maybe baggage we carry from broken relationships. This stuff can really weigh us down and also cause a lot of damage to our present and future and so i believe it is really helpful to take a look backwards in a positive light and see if there is anything we can or need to do, to help us live more fully now and beyond.

i think a great next thing to take a look at is the idea of people gratitude – Remembering those people who poured into your life and helped shape you into the person you have become today.

‘Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” [A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh]

if i had to start naming names on this one i would be busy for a very long time, and i would no doubt leave a lot of people out and possibly make someone sad… but there are just so many people who i am grateful to have had in my life for shorter or longer periods of time. people who took chances on me and gave me opportunities, people who defended me, often without me even knowing it, before others who criticised or judged or wanted to take me down in some way… those who took time to really listen to me and hear me, those who wrestled with me [metaphorically, for the most part] who held opposing ideas but who never allowed that to affect the love or friendship between us… those who were completely generous to me in a thousand different ways [and now to me and the beautiful Val]… and all those who are currently pouring money and prayer and encouragement into this part of our journey in Americaland… those who were brave enough to call me on stuff [especially those who managed to do it in such a way that the love still was recognisable] who probably deserve a double portion of gratitude and some form of danger pay for the risk-taking…

to all these people i am grateful. and i try to find opportunities to express that gratitude in a variety of different ways, and know that i can and should do better in this area.

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” [Marcel Proust]

what about you? take a moment to think about some people who have made significant contributions to you life – those who made you feel good, those who comforted you or simply listened or were there when times were tough, and those who risked saying difficult things you really needed to hear and hopefully listened to.

when last did you write someone a note, give someone a call or simply drop them a text to say ‘Thank-you for…’ 

why not take a few minutes now to do that… and then try and work it in regularly into your weekly schedule – start cultivating a rhythm of gratitude

“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.” [Elizabeth Gilbert]

[To continue to the next part which looks at learning from your past, click here]

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“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”  [Søren Kierkegaard]

i had this idea for a blog series on looking backwards to move forwards well, and have a few ideas of what to write on and maybe more will materialise as i go…

often we think of the past with a negative light in terms of missed opportunities or  things done to us or perhaps people we might have hurt or disappointed or maybe baggage we carry from broken relationships, and this stuff can really weigh us down and also cause a lot of damage to our present and future and so i believe it is really helpful to take a look backwards in a positive light and see if there is anything we can or need to do, to help us live more fully now and beyond.

i think a great place to begin will be to focus on CELEBRATION.

‘Bring the past only if you are going to build from it.’ [Doménico Cieri Estrada]

i like that quote cos i think it sums up exactly what i am imagining with this series… but one way the past can be really helpful for us is when we take time to celebrate… people who have been meaningful to us [and i will go into this one in more depth in a future post], events that have been significant, moments when God really pitched up in a tangible way that encouraged and inspired or brought life transformation for us, achievements or accomplishments [those of ourselves but especially those of the people around us] and i imagine a lot more.

i think any time we get stuck in the past it is likely to be a negative thing and that can happen with celebrations as well – if the story we are constantly celebrating of what God has done in and through us is a story from ten years ago for example, then perhaps it is time for a new story… and possibly the new story hasn’t happened because we haven’t taken our eyes off all the goodness that might have been linked to the last one…

but take time to celebrate! in the Bible the Israelites often built altars to God as a reminder when a significant event had happened like the crossing of the Red Sea for example. it was like a memorial to God’s greatness and every time they saw it again they were reminded that there was a reason for celebrating God in that place.

so i want to encourage you to make time regularly to interrupt the busyness of life and just stop. and reflect. and remember. and smile. 

write someone an email. send a friend overseas a postcard or a small gift, compose a poem, song or spoken word piece to God… whatever it is, join with Doménico Cieri Estrada in bringing the past only if you are going to build from it.

[for the next part in the ‘Back to your future’ series, this time focusing on being thankful for the people in your life, click here]

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