Living Forward

By Joan Kelley, Director of Facilitator Development for oneLifemaps

Where do you tend to get stuck – the past, present or future?

It’s hard for me to believe that in a couple months my son, Will, is going to turn 17. Seven months ago he was diagnosed with leukemia. So I have to admit we were ready for 2009 to end. I think because of all that has happened, I have spent some extra time reflecting on his life and mine as we enter 2010.

It’s funny to me how these almost 17 years have flown by. If you had told me when Will was just a baby what was ahead, I think I wouldn’t have believed it. I wonder what I would have changed had I known. Perhaps I would have been more present when he talked or shown more love and less nagging, read more stories, made him finish his vegetables.

I know I can’t go back and relive it but I can live forward. Living forward requires living in the present first with an eye on the future, while learning from the past. Living forward means waking up and being grateful for the day and living it, really living it to its fullest, living it with the capacity that God gave me, living it simply, living it with less focus on me. Living forward means taking the moments during the day to have a snowball fight, play CandyLand when you don’t want to, letting the dishes sit there sometimes, reading the bedtime story vs. your newspaper, putting the Blackberry down so you can hear what they are saying, telling them specific things about their character that you see them developing.

Living forward is selfless and hard and doesn’t make sense sometimes to the human mind. But living forward takes the tension we live in between our past and present and the anxiety we may have about the future and forms a more healthy relationship among all three – past, present, future. The past doesn’t hold us captive, the future is not something we are dependent on for our happiness and in the end the present feels like a place where you can be content. I think I’ll make 2010 a year focused more on living forward.


“I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back.” --Philippians 3:12-14

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” –Matthew 6:34

What can you do today and in the coming months to “live forward?” Share it with a friend this week.

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