Mar 30, 2006

backward thinking

“Life must be understood backwards. But that makes one forget the other saying; that is must be lived – forwards." - Søren Kierkegaard

Life is like a painting that has been covered up except for one small portion that peeks at the picture underneath. To try to understand the whole painting based solely on that glimpse is impossible, but as time passes and more of the art is uncovered we are better able to look upon that which has been revealed with a greater sense of comprehension. We gain this perspective not only through personal reflection but also biblical reflection, allowing every page of the Scriptures that we breathe in to literally exhale the covering on the painting off a bit further.

An online friend recently proposed this idea, though...

Maybe when Kiekegaard says, “LIFE MUST BE UNDERSTOOD BACKWARDS” he is not referring to history…I really believe a leader is one that can see the future, and then see the steps to get there…like seeing things backwards. In my own ministry development, I have had to look at a problem, stretch myself to see the end result, and then determine the proper steps backwards through the issues to get to that point.

Hmm... interesting theory. So when I try to understand the future I must understand it backwards.

i.e.: "Unless Jesus comes back first, I want to die a godly man with a godly legacy, so... by the time I am 70 I should have a godly relationship with my grandkids... by the time I'm 60 I should have a godly relationship with my adult kids... by the time I'm 40 I should have a godly relationship with my teenage kids... which means that now I need a godly relationship with my toddlers... which comes out of a godly relationship I have with my wife... which comes out of a godly relationship I have with God."

Thoughts?

6 comments:

Friar Tuck said...

I think that this is important...but I also think ignorance of history, both our own and others, is not a very healthy and wholistic way of dealing with life either.

Tony Myles said...

How does that quote go at the end of JFK? "The past is prologue" or something like that.

Maddog said...

It make me think of our obsession with the destination. No doubt that the end or potential end puts things in perspective but life is so much about the journey to the destination. So for me I want to keep the end in mind but never lose perspective that it is so much about how we get there.

Katie said...

what's the quote (or am i just making this up?): "every journey begins with a single step"

The idea that a journey has to have a destination, a direction, or we wander aimlessly walking and moving but never getting anywhere. I think looking forward and backward is important. We must know where we came from to get to where we are. We must also know where we are going from here.

I like the way you put it in the i.e. because it tracks back from where you want to be to where you are right now. The decisions we make today affect tomorrow, the decisions we made yesterday affect today.

So really it is all important, yesterday, today, tomorrow because we are constantly in motion, moving toward a final destination.

Tony Myles said...

Enjoying the journey...

jack said...

I just came across that quote this week. Can't remember where/why though.

Good post.