Facebook, like all communities, has evolved some traditions, once of which is “Throwback Thursday”, when people post pictures from their past. For some people, the past is last year’s profile picture. But many of these are scanned photographs that were originally printed on photo paper. Am I dating myself to say that some of these were likely sent as rolls of film in an envelope to be developed and returned with the negative in a sleeve? But anyway, they are a fascinating look at what people think was significant in their lives. And of course, we get to hoot over the dated hairstyles and clothes, or wonder what happened to the extra twenty pounds.
I think that sometimes we need a “Throwback Thursday” in our spiritual lives. If we have journals or articles that we wrote, for Sunday School or Confirmation, it is worthwhile to read them from time to time and reflect on where we were in our faith journey. Some of us have pictures that we drew at various points in our lives. But even in the absence of written reminders, it is interesting to go back in your head to your teenage years and early adulthood and remember who God was to you then.
As you held your first-born at his baptism, what were you thinking? When you posed with your grandfather in your last picture together, what did you think about death? When you were out with your friends twenty years ago, what did you talk about?
You may be tempted to wave off your childhood fear of water, or your adolescent obsession with death as immaturity. But in reality, every spiritual journey has its own path. You may have had ideas about God and yourself that you now think are odd, but they were part of your spiritual development. Or you may realize that you have always known God’s presence in the deepest part of yourself.
Was there a loss or grief in your life that formed you deeply? Is there a person who taught you about life and faith? Did you do something for which you had a hard time forgiving yourself?
Throwback Thursday is a chance to figure out where we have been and who we are now. In most people’s lives, there are connecting threads; love of animals, peace in nature, love of reading stories. There are also some dis-connects; a sudden loss, a trauma, a long distance move. When we examine where we have been and how we got there, we see our present and future a little more clearly.
Spend a little time today thinking about where you have been in your faith and where God might be taking you now.