The Greybeard Chronicles: Yesterday, When I was King— or, There is No Time Like the Present

back in the dayIt is the habit—and the prerogative— of those of us with silver in our hair to reminisce, to rubberneck, to relish (and embellish) past heroics. I have not pastored a church since 1997. I have not suited up for a game of organized football since 1979. The further I get from the things I "used to" do, the better I was at them.

As the late Vance Havner was fond of saying, "Distance lends enchantment to the view."

For most of us, there is a gentleness in the fingers of time, carefully peeling away the ugliness of loss and disappointment, leaving us the beauty of the halcyon days of our youth. You know, back when the sun shone brighter, when the birds sang a sweeter tune, when the river wound its way more lazily along. Back when an afternoon could be spent playing flies and skinners with your buds or tearing down empty streets on your bike.

Back then. You know.

They say you cannot live in the past. Or, you shouldn't. I suppose that's true. They say the past is a memory and tomorrow's a dream, so live in the present. Live in the moment.

I'm good with that, for the most part.

I think, though, if memories were of no value, God would not have bothered equipping us with them. It is good for a toddler to remember that iron was hot when he touched it. It is also good for grampa, whose legs won't carry him across the room anymore, to remember running across meadows and skipping across brooks.

Let me give you one more thing to consider: While you say the past and the future do not exist—only the present; I contend there is no such thing as the present. There is only the future forever becoming the past. Time doesn't stand still. Not for a second, or even a nanosecond. What was the present when I began this sentence, is already the past.

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away, but time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin' into the future.

I believe in yesterday. I believe in tomorrow.

I believe in love. I believe in babies. I believe in mom and dad. And I believe in you.

And, I believe I will stop this right here.