Not Now What I Once Was

I don’t know why but over the past few weeks I’ve fallen into a more reflective, more contemplative, more nostalgic frame of mind. I’ve considered my past and run through all the major mistakes and some of the successes. No big surprise: I’ve changed.

It’s strange, really, how different I am when compared to who I was even three years ago on the eve of my college graduation. Even greater change has can be seen when looking four, six, and 10 years past. It seems so long ago now.

One of my favorite quotes, which I have mentioned before, is from the movie Life as a House. It says: You know the great thing, though, is that change can be so constant that you don’t even feel the difference until there is one. It can be so slow that you don’t know that your life is better or worse until it is. Or it can just blow you away and make you something different in an instant.

I’ve been noticing, lately, how I didn’t even feel the changes. Over the past 10 years there has been so much in my life – moving, starting at a new school, my first serious girlfriend, graduating high school, college, getting engaged and then having it called off, General Conference, traveling around the world, making some great friends, graduating college, getting my first car, General Conference, moving into my own place, more travel, and on and on.

I’ve learned so much about myself, what my limits are, what my strengths are, who I really am, and it’s amazing when I take the time to look at where I’ve been, what I’ve done, and how I’ve grown.

When looking at some of the missteps I’ve had along the way I began to wonder about how long should I hold on to guilt? Should I constantly try to make up for past blunders? Should I just be mindful of them so as not to repeat the errors? Should I feel guilty even after I’ve been forgiven? I’m not totally sure. One of the thoughts that seems to help is that I am not now who I once was. In some ways, I am a completely different person than the me of the ’90s, or even the first half of the ’00s. Should I still hang on to guilt that belongs to someone else?

It’s hard to say. After all, my past is mine. It has helped to shape who I am and teach me about life and the world. I certainly can’t just cast it away by saying I’m someone different now. But I’m also conscious of the fact that who I am today would make alternate decisions. So, as always, the answer lies somewhere in between in the foggy gray area that is life.

1 Corinthians 13 is one of the better known passages and is rather helpful when trying to understand love and how one might model oneself. I particularly like the portion about the transition from childhood to maturity and from confusion to understanding. I hope I’m further along than I used to be.

To close I just want to share something I wrote. When I was in college, I wrote some additional verses to the hymn “The Gift of Love” (UMH #408) for our “This I believe…” service. They go something like this:

  • Love never ends, though most things do,
    Like prophecy and knowledge too.
    And though I know only in part
    I hope to know with my whole heart.
  • When I was young and oh, so mild
    I reasoned like a little child.
    When I grew old and rich in days
    I put an end to childish ways.
  • Though now I see in a dim light
    I soon will see all things aright.
    And I will know, through faith alone,
    Even as I am fully known.
  • Fill me with love, fill me with life
    And lead me through my daily strife,
    So in the end my heart may be
    Full of the joy I find in thee.
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