A moving walkway life

imageDo you ever dwell on the past? Have you ever caught yourself reliving previous mistakes over

and over

and over

again?

Give me five minutes of quiet, particularly between 3 am and 6 am, and I’ll give you 10 of my most embarrassing errors or destructive sins.

Frankly, I’m a little tired of this internal rhetoric. The plain truth is that two of my most powerful enemies live in the past: pride in prior accomplishments and shame over a multitude of bad choices. I desire neither.

I have a new plan.

Have you ridden a moving walkway? Perhaps at an airport? You step on and then move forward at a little less than normal walking pace. It’s convenient, but you must choose where to direct your gaze. Ahead, behind, people watching (you know you do it).

In reality, we are all being carried forward at a constant rate… in time. We are all standing on the unavoidable, temporal moving walkway with the past behind and the future ahead. I’ve already discussed the past and its pitfalls; I can’t know the future. It would be a hopeless situation if not for my current location on the belt: the present.

I exist in the present and only in the present. So do you. On the walkway, my perspective dictates my focus. Will I look to the past that I can’t change or to the future that I can’t see? Or will I spend my time in the present where I can… do, affect, produce?

I choose the present.

Paul teaches us this in Ephesians 4.

20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

We are to put off, or throw away, our old self, the past. That should not be our focus. We are to put on our new self, in pursuit of Jesus. Since we only exist in the present, this is exactly the time to put on our new self. There is, in fact, no other.

Plant your feet firmly on the moving walkway. Live where you are. Embrace the present. Don’t be imprisoned by your past. Don’t waste your time on the future.

Oh, and stand to the right. Someone may be running for a flight.

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About Tony Schmitz

Tony Schmitz received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Temple University in 1993, his MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1996, and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1999. He is a mechanical engineering professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
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