Looking Back

Since yesterday was such a quiet day at work with many of my co-workers still on Christmas break, I took advantage of the quiet to do some cleaning out of old files on my computer. My most tedious task was tackling my email. I had accumulated about 500 emails in my inbox, and a whopping 2,500(!) emails in my “Sent items” folder.

I spent much of the day sorting, filing and deleting emails. I didn’t read every single email; I figured that I could probably ditch 99% of the emails that were older than three months old. But I did take time to read many emails that I had exchanged with friends over the past year. The past year had been an emotionally challenging one for me, particularly in healing from a broken heart. Many of the emails I read were from friends encouraging me in the healing process, telling me that they were praying for me and sharing Bible verses with me.

As I read through these emails, I felt extremely grateful for the progress that I’ve made over the past year. There is certainly some emotional baggage that I’m still dealing with, but God has done a tremendous work in my heart. I am thankful to have these emails to look back on and recall how far I’ve come with His help.

I wonder if David or the other Psalmists ever took time to re-read the Psalms they had written, particularly those written in troubling times. So many of the Psalms are sorrowful, with the author crying out to God in anguish. I wonder if, days, weeks, months, perhaps even years later, the author was able to reflect on what he had written and rejoice in seeing how God had answered him.

One of the blessings of writing, whether via email or a blog or in a journal, is having a written record of how we’re feeling at a particular moment, and being able to look back on those moments. My spiritual memory often fails me; I can easily become discouraged and forget how God has come through for me in the past. Taking the time to read journal or blog entries or emails to and from friends allows me to stoke my memory and rejoice in God’s work in my life.

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