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There are so many things that we cannot change, but we can certainly look forward to what we can change about our futures. It will make all the difference.

A few weeks ago, our family was driving in the car on our way home from running Saturday errands. Through stop-and-go traffic on a busy road, we got rear-ended. Thankfully, there were no damages to us or the car (thank goodness for trailer hitches), and we were quickly on our way home for the night. 

As we drove back home, paying close attention and giving a little extra following distance, my husband and I were chatting about how frustrating the situation had been. I mean, we’d already hit the garage door while backing out that morning. Wasn’t that enough? 

We considered what would have happened if we’d gone the back way. 

Or if we’d gone back for that one thing we needed at Walmart. 

Or if I’d listened to my stomach wanting to stop at the cookie shop. 

Maybe if we’d done that, we wouldn’t have been hit. 

The days progressed, but my thoughts lingered. How often do we look back wondering “what if”? How often do we spend in the past, when we should be looking forward to the future? No matter what we do, we’ll never be able to change the past. 

No matter how long we talked about it, we still got rear-ended. 

The boy still broke up with you.

The girl still said no.

The school still didn’t accept you.

You still lost your job.

Your children still left home.

Whatever it is, it still happened. That’s the thing about the past. It’s cemented. It’s stuck. You can’t change it.

So, what if, instead of thinking about what would have happened had you gone another way, or done another thing, let us focus on the lesson to be learned. Focus on accepting the past as just that—the past. Even though it’s cemented down, you’re not stuck in it. 

Get up.

Move on. 

Thank the past for the lessons you’ve learned and look forward with excitement for what lies ahead. Keep moving forward. 

You may find that as you shift your focus forward, you’ll be taking charge of the pieces of life that you have the power to change. 

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