This is Pastor Tim’s weekly newspaper article that appeared in the Evening Leader on Monday, Dec 27, 2021
For Christmas this year, I got my family a gift from Legacy Box. This article is not a commercial for them, but it pertains to the story. Legacy Box is a service that takes all of your old video tapes and reel to reel video and converts it to digital. It took about 3 months to get the videos back. I received them back about two weeks ago, and over the Christmas holiday we got together and watched these old videos.
I really did not know any of my grandparents because they all died when I was very young. My only memories of them are of being sick and great sadness. I know that is my loss because by all accounts, they were good people, but I did not really get to know them. I saw video of my grandparents when they were much younger than I am now. I saw my grandpa play volleyball, something I never considered before. There are also videos of my dad when he as a teenager shooting bow and arrows. I saw video of my mom being able to walk around, something I have not seen in over a decade. I even saw video of me as a toddler, which was surreal. I apparently thought I had some incredible dance moves back in the day. Let me assure you, I was wrong.
It was interesting to watch the people I knew from those old videos. The biggest thing I kept wondering in watching those videos was if I had the chance to have a conversation with the people in them, would I take that chance? Would I want to go back to myself when I was 10 years old and tell myself all of what has happened to me in the almost 40 years since those videos were shot? If I could, what would I say? What should I say? There was video of me hitting a tetherball in my backyard. Some of my happiest times in my childhood were playing with that tetherball. I was wondering if that little kid, who was so excited about something so simple would have been able come to terms with what all he would see in the years since that time. Walking up a volcano in the Philippines, standing on the hill in Middle East where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, or working in an AIDS clinic in Haiti. There have been so many highs and lows since those days and there is no way that kid in those videos could have even fathomed what any of that would mean, let alone understand it.
Just like so many of you, I have had times where I wondered why God didn’t let me in on something. Why does God have to be so mysterious all of the time? Watching that video helped me understand why there is so much mystery in life. It is because I had to start with the tetherball before I got to the volcano. I had to start with the ridiculous dance moves before I could stand behind a pulpit. I had to swim in a pool with my cousins before I could have anything to give to a person dying of AIDS in Haiti.
There is a clear order of life that I am not making any claim to understand, but it can only be observed in hindsight. My life would have been ruined had I known too much too soon. I would have been too terrified to take the bull by the horns and live the life God wanted for me.
In a weird way, watching those videos made me appreciate how much God hasn’t told me, because if I had the chance to speak to any of the people in those videos, I know exactly what I would have done. I would have terrified them so much that they would have not been willing or able to live the life I have gotten to live. If I knew then what I know now, I would have ended up very different because I would have been too terrified to do many of the things I have done. It is true that I probably would have avoided a lot of mistakes, but I would have also avoided a lot of the life I have lived.
After reflecting on those videos for a few days, if I was given the option to speak to the people in those videos, I hope that I would be gracious enough to turn down the offer because it would cost me so much more than I would gain. It is the mystery of God that allows us to grow.
Sure, I sometimes wish that God would be a little more forthcoming with information, but I also know that if I dumped all the information I wanted to on younger versions of myself, I would have lost out on so much growth.