I’ll be the first to admit that I love nostalgia. I love going “back in time” in my mind and soaking in the past. Just yesterday, I stumbled upon a YouTube video of a string of old TV commercials from my childhood (yes, commercials!). I was entranced by them. I remembered so much from them that it was surprising. It’s probably because I was brainwashed from watching too much TV!
But it snapped me back in time. And this happens to me often. Music is a big one. If I hear an old song, I’m instantly transported to a time and place where I usually have fond memories.
I love looking back... but that’s not necessarily a good thing.
There’s a quote from the US version of the TV show The Office. At the end of the series, one of the characters says, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the ‘good old days’ before you’ve actually left them.” It’s such a great quote and one that’s lasted long after the show was finished. And it’s true. It’s hard to see that right in the moment you’re currently in could possibly be the “good old days.” But in reality, it’s selling “today” pretty short.
In his wisdom, Solomon shares a great “rebuke” to this way of thinking:
“Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’ For it is not wise to ask such questions.” Ecclesiastes 7:10
As human beings, we tend to want to escape the tough times. We look for ways out of complex and complicated situations. We want to avoid conflict, confrontations, and fearful moments. So we escape. We look back at how things used to be. But we forget that even those times weren’t always so great either. A lyric from a song from my youth says, “sometimes the memory only sees what it wants to believe.” We tend to look back with nostalgia remembering only the good stuff when there were plenty of challenges mixed in there that we conveniently forget.
So the best thing is to live for today. Live in the moment. And by the grace of God and by trusting in His strength, face today’s challenges head on, knowing that today is just as good of a day as the good old days were.