Longing for the ‘good old days’

Published 6:46 pm Thursday, June 27, 2019


Religion Columnist

We have all heard people long for the “good old days.” Some of us can even remember what was good about them.  My eldest son (now 30-something) remembers back many moons ago (when he was 6), when he could ride his bike all over the place, because we had a big parking lot next door to our house in Indianapolis.  Those were the “good old days.”

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Like my son, we forget about the many hardships we had to face in the “good old days.”  At 6-years-old my son was limited by his parents to the parking lot, which seemed so huge then, but now would seem tiny — especially now that he has a big family car to drive.  It strikes me that there are some things about the “good old days” that weren’t so good.  It hasn’t been that long ago that families and communities were plagued by many diseases, that children today need only to get a shot, and they never have to worry about them.  Who among us would want to give up our ease of transportation, that enables us to see the country and world we enjoy today?  And, of course, there are many conveniences that make life more comfortable.  Few of us can remember life without microwaves, computers and cell phones, and do we really want to? 

I think what people long for is simpler lives. There is no question we live in complex times that can be a bit overwhelming.  Rather than longing for the past, the challenge is to find meaning and purpose in our lives today.  I think we have a tendency to let ourselves become distracted by all the screens, gadgets, options and play things of our times, and lose track of why we have been put here in the first place.  In case you have forgotten, we have been put here by God, to glorify God.  Does that sound familiar?  Has your life gotten a little complicated and distracted, so that you have gotten away from why you are here? 

In his book “The Purpose Driven Life” Rick Warren begins with a challenging thought — “Life is not about ME!”  If you long for the “good old days” then you might want to ask yourself if your life is lived as if it is all about you.  Such a life will always contain an emptiness.  You will find you are easily offended, that it seems there are always people doing things that inconvenience you, and you are certain it is on purpose.  You are likely to be unhappy, and often focused more on your own needs.  Being a Christian and/or a regular church attender does not protect you from such self-centered living.  Pastor Warren’s cure is to realize that meaning and purpose in your life can be found only by going to God and finding out what kind of life God has created you to live.  As it is written in Colossians 1:16, “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.”

What do you think?  Do you live primarily for yourself, or for God?  Can you think of examples of life choices that show you are living for God?  How well do you know what God’s plan is for your life?  Are you unhappy very often, and what things cause this most of the time?  Do you long for the past, or live dreaming about better days in the future, or do you live for today?  How often do you read your Bible, pray, worship and study with others you trust, and seek out God’s will for your life?  Are you generally a self-centered person?  How often do you serve others, and do you do it for the recognition, or out of love?  Is it possible that you are not the best person to answer the question about how you live, since you have been living this way for so long it is hard to look honestly at your life?  Would it be helpful to find a trusted friend and ask them some questions about you?

These are a few good questions that ought to get you going so you can better enjoy every precious day of life you have been given, and rarely catch yourself longing for the “good old days.” 

To find out more about Al Earley or read previous articles go to www.lagrangepres.com.