As may be obvious from the sort of writings I regularly produce  that I pay a lot of attention to the messages I listen to. The past, whether my own personal past or the melancholy record of human history, is food for reflection, for meditation, and for insight, with the goal of having a better future for having reflected than would be the case if one simply acted without forethought and planning of any kind. History, whether our own or that of others, amounts to a series of case studies. By themselves, case studies are merely examples or for instances, and are not the whole picture. Even the totality of our own experience leaves out a great deal of reality that lies beyond our observation or knowledge, and so it is limited, capable of providing insight, but always with the awareness of its limitations and in incompleteness.
It is often an interesting exercise to watch people speak, and to examine the constraints under which they work from one communicator to another. For example, the elder who spoke today commented verbally on his desire to speak within the boundaries of what he felt was appropriate, not wishing to overstep into someone else’s territory, a noble concern but one that should be a given without the need to state it explicitly. In commenting on the wishes for other people for specific suggestions on what to do, I was curious to hear his comments, and they were revealing, but something I viewed with concern. On the one hand, a lot of the suggestions given were either obvious (focused Bible study and prayer), involved greater involvement, many of which I already did, and at least one of which that offers a potential answer to a concern of mine. On the other hand, two of the suggestions mentioned were somewhat of a concern. On the one hand, it seemed a bit worrisome that he was nervous about announcing the sermonette club prematurely. On the other hand, one of the bits of advice on seeking professional help was both a bit jarring but also entirely within line as to the main point of his message, at least in terms of application.
Although the elder used a lot of classic examples about people who looked back to their perdition, and plenty of rousing scriptures about pressing onward, what struck me the most was we best move on from the past and press on to the future when we have past, present, and future in the proper context. When we see how our past has helped us to be a successful person today, and that it gives us the drive to help make a better future, we are not so held back by it. We cannot do anything about the content of the past, but we can do something about its context. If we feel as if we are making progress in life, than the past moves further back in the rear view mirror, and its negative influence is reduced. Likewise, the feeling of progress here and now also encourages people to have hope in a better future, and that hope encourages efforts to continue pressing on. How do we develop a compelling vision of the future to move towards and the victories in the here and now that encourage us there?
 See, for example, the following posts since the beginning of September along this lone: