How To Make Sense of Life Backwards

I have a nagging, almost involuntary habit.

I cannot help but read or try to read a new word backwards, in my mind. When I am in the mood, no word – new or old – is spared.

Recently, I learnt a new word, Palindrome. It refers to words or phrases with the same meaning when spelled forwards or backwards.

My spell-the-word-backwards knack and any palindrome word I come across, remind me of the Danish philosopher and theologian, Soren Kierkegaard’s apt conclusion about life: “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
– Soren Kirkegaard

Any human life, from the womb to the tomb, is a product of it’s experiences; carved and shaped by circumstances – the good, the bad and the ugly. Life is chequered with ups and downs; we all have our share of them. To believe otherwise is injurious.

We may not be able to choose our life’s experiences, but the choice of how we respond to them is ours.

I believe the passage of time gives better perspective to a past occurrence. In retrospect, we see more clearly, and may accept and appreciate the experiences we have had, especially the difficult ones.

A classic example is Joseph, the son of Jacob, who, out of jealousy and hatred, was sold into slavery by his biological brothers. When they met him many years later in a situation where they are at his mercy, he responded,

“Don’t’ be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t’ be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” Genesis 50:19-21 (NIV)

When you consider a traumatic experience like rape, retrospection, not reminiscence, can be very insightful and rewarding. But only if it is buoyed by acceptance, forgiveness and the determination to move on.

When you look back at life, don’t reminisce; instead retrospect. Reminiscence is just recollection. It won’t do you any good to recollect difficulties of the past. To make sense, and the most of past hurts and regrets, do a review.

Reminiscence is just recollection. Retrospection is about honest review. To make sense of life, choose the latter.

Retrospection will help you glean nuggets from the dirt of your pasts; you will see clearly the silver lining you were blind to when the dark clouds were overcast.

Today, when I look back to when a four-year relationship I was in ended (it was heart-rending), I am always full of gratitude to God that it ended. Today, I am married to the best woman in the world – the lady meant for me!

This is not to suggest that difficult experiences are easy to deal with. They can be devastating and excruciating. But in spite of hurt, pain, regret or loss, one must find resolution as soon as possible.

Grieve, then move on; embrace the pain, then let it go. “Bitterness ends up destroying the bitter person.”

There is only one person who is able and willing to help you resolve and make sense of past hurts, failure or disappointments. He is Jesus Christ. You can ask his help today. Click here!

Have you ever dealt with past hurts? Share how?

7 thoughts on “How To Make Sense of Life Backwards

  1. It is a great piece. Most often we don’t see the big picture in the events and circumstances (pleasant and unpleasant ) that come our way, but in time we see it’s all part of grand plan.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the line of being a product of your experiences but the next line made it clearer “you can choose how you respond to them”.

    So in a sense of it I am a product of my response to my experiences.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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