Posted tagged ‘past’

Looking Back and Giving Thanks

January 7, 2016

By Dr. Steven J. Callis

Recently it was reported that at the end of the 19th century there was one car on the road for every 18,000 people in the United States. Contrastingly, today there are more than 250 million cars and trucks in the United States, or almost one per person.

That being true, most drivers have for their convenience a vision device that assists in safe driving. Having been on the highways quite a bit recently, I am not convinced that all drivers actually utilize this device, but that is another topic for another time.

Along with the large picture window that provides a panoramic-type view of what is ahead of the vehicle, there is a small “magical looking glass” that enables one to actually see what is behind the vehicle. It is called a “rear view mirror,” introduced to automobiles in 1908, then mounted on the dashboard.

Throughout my childhood years I believed those little mirrors were to assist parents in keeping an eye on their children in the backseat of the vehicle! At what age did you realize that parents do not actually have eyes in the backs of their heads? That crazy mirror got me into trouble more times than I care to remember!

Apparently, automobile makers continue to believe that seeing what is behind a vehicle is important. They also realize that the past is not the main focus. Hence, the picture window in the front is much larger than the small rear-looking apparatus. It is small enough that it does not obstruct the view of what is ahead, yet large enough to see at a glance what is behind.

We have ushered in a new year once again to the tune of “Auld Lang Syne,” for old time’s sake. It is an opportunity to glance in to life’s rear view mirror and reflect on the past as we project for the future. That which is left behind means something; in fact, the past is what brought us to the present. We must not let our memory obstruct our view of the present and future, but it can help us live better in the present and future if we allow it to do so.

Some drivers seem oblivious to what is behind them; and for some people, the beginning of a new year is simply another day on the calendar. I choose, however, to use this time as a check up: to examine my life and values, my blessings and shortfalls, my strengths and needs for improvement.

Living things are in constant development, and thus require continual observation in order to make necessary adjustments as conditions change. I will not set new goals too lofty to attain, or make resolutions that demand more than I can give. Whatever circumstances I face, however, I will determine to be the best that I can be for Christ, for my family, my church, and my community.


Is Time Really on our Side?

October 28, 2015

By Dr. Steven J. Callis

The clock on my office wall is one of six chronometers in my 180 square foot study space. I like clocks! This one is unique in that its numerals count forward from the left, and the hands on the face run counterclockwise. In other words, the hands point to the correct time, but the numerals are on the opposite side of where they appear on a standard clock.

I do not qualify as a collector of timepieces, but they do fascinate me. Another clock in my office has the appearance of a football scoreboard and includes time, date, and room temperature. It was a gift from my kids, as was the one that features a golfer swinging a putter in time with the seconds that tick away.

Novelist Mitch Albom wrote an intriguing story, The Time Keeper, depicting how man came to measure time, along with the benefits and consequences of doing so. I happened across it on a sale table and was curious enough to spend the four dollars, recognizing the name as the writer of the better known, Tuesday’s with Morey. It is a thought provoking work that you might enjoy, as I did.

Time is my topic today because November 1 is the established date to “fall behind,” as it were. Some people refer to it as enjoying an extra hour of sleep, though I usually get involved in something on that night which keeps me up later than normal! Nevertheless, at bedtime we turn the clocks back one hour, giving us the impression of “gaining” an extra hour for…well, for however we decide to use it.

Could you handle the responsibility if you had the power to control time? Often in a football game there are coaches on both sidelines, the winning team hoping time will elapse quicker, and the other team wanting even a few extra seconds on the game clock to score one more time.

The Beatles sang about 8 days a week, the Rolling Stones believed that time was on their side, Jim Croce wanted to save time in a bottle, and The Turtles took their cue from the Bible book of Ecclesiastes to inform us that everything has a season and a purpose under heaven – – turn, turn, turn!

You already know that we do not gain actual time November 1; we simply change the time on our clocks. Next March we will reverse the process and “lose” an hour, so to speak. The only power we really possess to affect time is our freedom to use it according to our own priorities and decisions. While we cannot always tame our responsibilities and shoulds and oughts, the ultimate accountability for our stewardship of time remains with us individually.

Be thankful for the time you have. Let’s be careful to learn from the past, live in the present, and aspire for the future. We cannot control time, but we can learn to make it work for us.