Clearing the Slate

Do we know how to start over?

Chalk BoardI can remember how often I wanted the job of cleaning the chalk board! Wipe it clean, and then with a damp cloth bring it back to it’s cleared state as if it were brand new being installed!

It seems like we all want a chance at start something over. We look at our present lives and they don’t match up to what we think we should be seeing, so we want to back up to an earlier state and re-boot.

Bracket LeftRecent articles note that we spend over 20 billion dollars a year on dieting products in a country that needs to lose weight… Me included. But we are spending over 56 billion dollars a year on our pets. That’s nearly 3 times as much on animals that bring joy, and not nearly enough on controlling our health that will help us live longer!

One of the ways that is popular in my neck of the woods for controlling our habits is hypnosis. They call it “positive changes”. From what I hear on the radio, there must be lines of people just waiting to attend their sessions so they can cease some bad habit – smoking, snacking, and who knows what else they talk about in those quiet moments!

Still, starting over is more than stopping the old. Don’t you think? If it was as easy as visiting an office, then I would think we would be spending more on health – at least for the time that all of us needed the assistance – than we would be spending on four legged creatures that need a new neck tie.

I’ve struggled with starting over many times. One little slip in the new habit, and it seems everything crumbles and before you know it you are back to your old habits. 

My thought this morning is not just starting over, but what point in the past do you want to start over from? There are many studies on determining what age people would like to return to, and then stay there forever. Consider a few of the nonsensical answers:

  • 8 – Being a child was so much better
  • 24 – That was a good age … old enough to know better but too young to care
  • 40 – Everything was right in my world when I was 40
  • 18 – Old enough to be an adult but still not too much responsibilities.

Seldom do you see older numbers! It seems we all look at the past with favored eyes and remember a time when all seemed right in the world – so that’s the age to return to.

This is my crucible. What age of innocence would I like to return to for the re-start to be enjoyable? I love and enjoy the age that I am! We’ve heard the saying that Grandkids are so much fun, why couldn’t we have started out with them first? Backing up is not always the answer, especially if we are going to recreate the same life with the same choices.

Clean SlateWhile it is true that if my slate was wiped clean, and a restart was in the cards, then there are some habits I would love to start off with that would make my present age more prepared. You know, eat and exercise better, laugh more, better parent-husband-child, save and invest better, start good habits young and let them keep you healthy and wealthy into older ages!

Maybe, just maybe, the concept of a clean slate is simply starting over fresh with the day ahead of us, and striving to make it the best day we can.

“I’ll wipe the slate clean for each of them. I’ll forget they ever sinned!” …” (Jeremiah 31:34 MSG)

If God can forget yesterday, can we? Can we start fresh today as if yesterday did not happen? I do not think we can ever go back to some idyllic point in the past with all the knowledge and habits of today. How many stories are written of “retooling, retraining, or simply rewriting” someones life so they can start over anew? Way too many people have thought about this.

What I can do is follow a process of making sure that my today’s produce a good product that will be enjoyed tomorrow. If there is something that is a left over from time gone by, work hard at fixing it so that the future is not sullied. If nothing can be done, then…

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,The courage to change the things I can,And the wisdom to know the difference.”  Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)