Friday, April 15, 2011

Chasing Woodpeckers

We call him "Pilly." Not very original, but it's the name my wife and I came up with for the Pileated Woodpecker that began frequenting our bird feeder last summer. I have yet to get close enough to get even one decent picture of the critter because he's either camera shy or just naturally jumpy. Anyway, I spotted him today sitting on the bridge that crosses the river near our home. I stopped the car, rolled down the window, but once again he flew away when I pointed the camera. So, after I got home I took a walk around the woods to try to find him.

That's when things got interesting. When my mind and I get alone for any length of time, we start to wander into unknown territory.

My walk led me just about a quarter mile from my home, off the beaten path a ways toward an old abandoned manufacturing plant of some sort. It's huge, and it's ugly. It ceased operation long before I came to town, or at least it must have been on its last legs. It's a painful reminder of a once productive past. It has served its purpose, but now it sits there rotting. Really, it's the worst eyesore in town next to the moldy drinking fountain in the park. But I digress.

Memories can be like that. An eyesore. A genuine pain in the backside. A reminder of our hurts, our pains and our regrets. Memories are like a sleeping lion that looks peaceful and harmless until it wakes up, sinks its claws deep into your chest and rips your heart out. Nice metaphor, huh?

I hail from a family that loves to live in the past. Guess what? The buck stops here, Bucko. I'm just not going there anymore. I've got some hot visions and dreams stirring in my heart, and if I don't do something about them I might self-combust. If I dwell on the past, think about memories, brood over regrets or keep wishing I had a time machine to go back to my childhood days (which were really Hell on earth to begin with) then I'll never accomplish the awesome job that I know God has given me. The dreams I have are so big, they could only come from Him. They'll only happen with Him. He has called me to pick up my cross and follow him daily, not to drag around a Hefty bag full of garbage from yesterday.

Somewhere, perhaps in a dusty attic or an upstate New York landfill, there sits a box of old home movies that I've given up on ever seeing again. After 20 years of waiting, it's not worth the drama anymore. And you know what? That's okay. I would much rather write a new chapter in my life than rehash the old ones. Like Guy Penrod sang, when I reach heaven just knowing he'll be there is enough for me. We'll "spend a lifetime reminiscing on the past." Enough about yesterday. You don't get to the finish line by looking backward. I'm pressing on to win the race.

In the meantime, I sure would like to find that stupid woodpecker.