these are the best of times

Whenever I get a little conflicted, it seems that my mind dredges up 80s music. Go figure.

Our memories of yesterday will last a lifetime

Time has a way of muddling the events, fudging the memories to be as good or as bad as… well, as we want them to be. Negative perspectives tend to grab hold of negative memories, while positive outlooks tend to remember mostly the best. It’s not a foolproof theory. But I find that as I grow older – not that I’m maturing, mind you, just aging – as I grow older I remember what I want to remember of the distant and not so distant past.

We’ll take the best, forget the rest

And that’s where personal will, where mindset, where attitude work together for or against us. The truth takes a backseat. Facts can be pushed aside. We can see in our mind’s eye what we wanted to see, how we wanted to see it. The folks who offend us will always be offensive as we remember what happened in our pain. Circumstances that blessed will be used time and again, stories of that big time when God was faithful and all was right in our world.

And someday we’ll find these are the best of times

And right now, we will see through those same lenses. Bear with me as I type and contemplate the thought. If we are typically pessimistic, and if we have lots of bad pessimistic memories and stories to dredge up in feeding that malevolent outlook, then what we see now will also be bad. We’ll see everything and everyone working against us. Even good things will bear down like weights, and we will lose the ability to be truly thankful. Flip it, and optimism goes the other way with wonderful bright stories to backup an overly pollyanna viewpoint. Where we start emotionally, at least in part, impacts how we see now,  how we see the past, and how the continuation of the past continues to feed into our present and into the future. It’s a cycle. We’re cyclists.

These are the best of times

The problem isn’t the way these things interact. I think it’s part of how we are made. God wants us to remember, to see back over our lives, good and bad, to see where He and we have danced before, how that can happen now in the middle of whatever you and I are going through. But those extremes – the everything-is-bad versus rose-colored-glasses – that’s where we run into issues.

Some rain some shine

I skipped that line. Styx’s “The Best Of Times” is a love song, and the context didn’t work for me as much as the ideas. Please forgive my prooftexting. But that’s the crux – right now there is some rain, and there is some shine, and all of it good and bad work together to build reality. Trying to remember the good with the bad helps us learn from the whole, not the extremes. And it’s a better filter for the now and for the not yet. Sometimes others wrong us and we forgive. Other times we screw up and it’s time to man up, take the heat and move forward to whatever is next. It’s not easy, and quite frankly I don’t think it should be. But it’s the closest I can see to honesty and reality in this life. As much as I can see with Dennis De Young singing in the background…

[lyrics – “The Best Of Times”, Styx]


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