Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Was listening to an audiobook today about handling past regret and looking forward to a better future entitled, Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda by Les Parrott. Here is a great illustration of how we should handle our past.

Either your past is serving as a springboard to a better tomorrow, or it is the proverbial albatross keeping you from moving forward today. Years ago a thunderstorm came through southern Kentucky and wreaked havoc on the old Claypool farm. A pear tree, which had stood for six generations, had blown over. Mr. Claypool deeply grieved the loss of this tree where he had climbed as a boy and whose fruit he had eaten all his life. “I’m so sorry to see your pear tree blown down,” a neighbor tried to console. “I’m sorry too,” Mr. Claypool responded. “It was a real part of my past.” The neighbor asked, “What are you going to do?” Mr. Claypool paused for a long moment before answering, “I’m going to pick the fruit and burn what’s left.”

His response may have been literal, but I can’t help thinking the astute farmer meant it figuratively as well. We all need to pick the fruit from our past and burn what’s left. We need to learn whatever lessons the past has to teach us and move forward with more wisdom under our belts and more optimism in our spirits.

Otherwise, we would be like another farmer in Mr. Claypool’s situation who drags the fallen tree into his barn or house, in a vain attempt to hold onto the glory years of his beloved tree. Over time, of course, the tree’s fruit would spoil and turn rancid and the timber would draw insects of all kinds. It would become a terrible obstacle in his daily life on the farm. Yet the farmer would refuse to change the absurd decision because he is holding onto the “good old days” with a vise grip.

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