Life abounds with joys and sorrows as well as a staggering amount of mundane middle ground, all of which must be enjoyed, suffered, or gotten through. The key is to keep moving forward. What I mean to do is use up every bit of my life, whether it is enjoyable or endurable and then move on to see what comes next. The snapshot of right now is not my life, nor is a snapshot of last week or next week. My life is the journey that I am taking.
My grandfather used to say, “Well, let’s just keep moving forward.” He would say this when a baby was born, at a funeral of a loved one, or whatever joyous event or challenging circumstance confronted him. It was the refrain to his song; the verbal touchstone that he needed. He had been a child during most of WWII and finally at sixteen he hired a tutor to learn trigonometry and then lied to get into officers training school. Shortly before my grandfather was eighteen years old he flew his first mission as a fighter pilot in the Pacific theater of WWII. The atrocities of war were to be forever locked in his memory. He was a child earning recognition and medals for shooting down other children flying planes for the other side. Then when his plane was shot down, he landed his burning fireball on the deck of a tiny aircraft carrier out in the middle of a vast ocean in order to save his life. For the next forty-five years he kept moving forward.
My brother was my grandfather’s favorite. He does not say my grandfather’s catchphrase but he does live it’s meaning. He has had about as much joy and sorrow as any person could pack into thirty-six years. My brother has some medical issues. When he was very young he dressed in a Superman costume every time he went to the hospital. When he got a little older he dressed as Clark Kent. Then, his father tragically died when he was thirteen. My brother just kept moving forward. He enjoys and endures like it was the spice of life, while moving forward is his purpose in life.
Like my grandfather and my brother, I want to enjoy every drop of wonder and happiness that is available in my life. I want to use my challenges as opportunities, live whatever pain is mine, and then come out on the other side a better person for having the experience.
I can see that it is tempting to be seduced by praise or good grades or lots of money or reputation. It is also obvious to me that it may even be easier to become burdened with hardships and challenges. I don’t want an assessment of my life’s accomplishments or defeats to be made with a one-dimensional analysis. My journey is what I will offer for evaluation. I plan to live my ups and downs and then keep moving forward.
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