“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. 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.” (Philippians 3:13-14 NIV)
When I was a young boy our whole family lived in my Nana’s old house right beside a set of railroad tracks. I can remember the whole house would shake when the trains rolled by. These trains hauling coal cars were few and far between, however, so I often spent my Summer afternoons walking down the tracks. I can remember the first time I tried to balance myself and walk on a single rail. The steel rails were very narrow and quite slippery so I didn’t have much success. First I tried holding my arms out and watching my feet as I walked. This only led to me wobbling and falling off after a few steps. I decided to walk backwards once but quickly slipped off and skinned my ankle on the rail. It was only when I started looking ahead, down the length of the tracks that I was able to walk the rails. Keeping my eyes forward I put one foot in front of the other and was soon walking with ease.
Looking back on this time I now realize that it also gave me a wonderful lesson about living. You can’t go through life watching and fretting about every step you take or choice you make. This only leads to second guessing yourself and you soon go off the rails. Looking behind you is even worse. With your eyes on the past you can’t see the way ahead. You can only stand still and stay stuck in your regrets. It is only when you look ahead that you can really move forward. It his only when you look ahead that you can see the life you want to lead, the love you want to share, and the light you want to shine. Then each step you take and choice you make is filled with love and you will walk on with a light heart.
We all need to keep our eyes forward. We all need to look ahead with love. We all need to see with our hearts the life we want to live. We all need to take each other’s hands and walk the path of love together, knowing that God is by our side with each step we take.
Joseph J. Mazzella