22. Retrospect

What is to be gained by looking back over your life? I think it’s true that experience itself is the most important teacher. Yet it’s probably more accurate to say that interpretation of experience is the true guide that will lead you down the roads of life. To think retrospectively is to interpret the meaning of past experiences; in essence, it is to claim a current understanding of past events. Surveying your own life should certainly be more than the attempt to build a compendium of events: ultimately, it should be the search for meaning. And it’s something that you must do for yourself.


People with similar experiences might view life and circumstance differently. Meanings rendered from similar events may come from different philosophical vantage points. While one person senses a beautiful guidance that could only come from God’s hand, another might see life as the fearful unfolding of unpredictable and random events.


The light of Joyous Gard is the witness to and the knowledge of a beautiful perfection that so underlies this fractured shell of life. We live in a world that seems so imperfect, so out of balance. But looking back with the patient eyes of retrospect is the effort to sense greater meaning. What is it that God wants you to know? What is it of His presence that God wants you to sense and understand?


My life has been so blessed by wonderful parents and a grand family of my own — a beautiful wife and three lovely children. And I’m sure that it’s much easier for me to feel the presence of design and the workings of God than it is for someone who’s witnessed much darkness and loss and fear. But I believe that life lived strongly, with hopeful and beautiful intention, is one that, regardless of circumstance, considers its past, laying claim yet to some order and meaning.


My friends, at a time when I can sit atop the mountain and see a beautiful light, let me say that our heritage and our original state was that of ultimate happiness and communion with God, though life as we know it will always be filled with brokenness and travail. Even through these murky waters of disappointment, loss and bitterness, we should search for that original design of perfect symmetry and order, the rock of God’s omniscience and His presence that fulfills a purpose.


I confess my struggle with instances of tragedy, the strike of evil hands, and the presence of lost and lonely souls. That entire populations can be wiped out by disease, starvation or disaster weighs on my spirit. And I believe that he who sees beauty does so only by the grace a God who wants and directs him to ponder these things, finding life in retrospect to be purposeful.


Days 22-24 Guide


The walls of Joyous Gard need further reflection and refinement. And so by the light of day prepare the place that can restore your hopefulness in those arid days.


© 2005, Levi Hill

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