Scotsman's Pocket


Scotsman's Pockets

It's unbelievable how our memories seem to amplify and exaggerate the memories of our youth. To "dinosaurs" like myself and my wife, everything always seemed to have been better, bigger and longer-lasting when we were young. As a child I always wondered why older people exaggerate their pasts, but now I realize that I'm doing the same thing! And the worst of it is, I'm doing it more and more often!

We were exploring Butchart Gardens in Victoria, B.C. These stunning, one-of-a-kind gardens had been nothing more than a mere quarry until someone with a dream transformed them into this paradise on earth. My wife had been here before, as a teenager, and she vividly remembered a beautiful flower that had caught her attention. They were called Scotsman's pockets, and she remembered them to be a large yellow and red flower with a huge pocket-like pouch. We looked everywhere for them. We figured that if they were as big and stunning as she remembered, there would be no problem locating them. But after exploring this vast estate twice, we convinced ourselves that perhaps this particular specie of flower was out of season!

In the end, we stopped at the information booth to ask. We were pleased to learn that they were not out of season, and the gardener directed us to where we might find them. This time we were successful. The only problem was, the beautiful flower my wife remembered had shrunk into a flower no bigger than a small impatient! My wife couldn't hide the disappointment in her voice: "I remember them being a lot bigger than this!" she lamented.

Reality was, they were not! It was yet another example of our minds exaggerating the past.

Our pasts may look glamorous to many of us, but in all reality, if we look a bit closer, we realize that they contain many unpleasant memories as well. Memories of where the "I" dominated, and sin ran unchecked; memories that we would prefer to keep hidden.

The apostle Paul gives us excellent advice. Instead of glamorizing our pasts, we should put them behind us, forever forgetting about them, and instead, we should put our energy into pressing forward, keeping in mind the goal that God has set in front of each of us:

"But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Phil 3:13-14 NIV)

When we develop this kind of an attitude, nothing bigger and better can ever happen to us. And why not look ahead? Don't we have something very special to look forward to? The day I will see Jesus face to face, I will not be able to keep myself from falling on my knees and shedding tears of joy. I will finally be home! This even will be bigger and better that trillions of Christmases put together!

The past may be interesting, but our future is more promising. Let's keep looking ahead!

Rob Chaffart

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