This past December, my boyfriend and I went to see the Christmas lights at the botanical gardens in Denver. It’s one of my favorite things to do at the holidays. There’s something about twinkling lights and cinnamon roasted nuts and breaths turned to white puffs in the air.
It was one of the last Saturdays before Christmas though, and we had to push through the crowds, shoulders and elbows bumping.
But the crowd gradually thinned out and we crossed over a covered bridge strung with thousands of white lights.
“Wait,” I said, grabbing his hand. “Look back.”
And we both turned around and looked back over the bridge. People moved around us as we stood still, completely in the way. Facing the wrong direction. But it was beautiful. Away from the crowded bridge, a few steps past it, we could take it all in. The curtain of shimmering lights. The curve of the bridge. The ice sparkling on the wood.
“Everyone forgets to look back,” I whispered in the cold air.
We’re trained to look forward. Eye on the prize. Don’t dwell in the past. And there’s truth in that. But what about looking back to see where you’ve come from. What you’ve traveled through. To celebrate the journey.
Is there a way to rejoice in the past without dwelling in it?
I believe there is.
When I look back to where I was one, two, five years ago, I see a lot of pain. But I see a lot of beauty. Friends who cheered for me. Relationships that surprised me. Strength I didn’t know I had.
I’ve fought hard to get to where I am. And sometimes, I need to turn around. Stop. Let the masses rush by me. And look at where I came from.
The shimmering promises.
The curve of the path.
The sparkling truth.
Wait. Look back. Everyone forgets to look back.