Artist’s Lane: Moving forward without looking back


By Betty Slade
PREVIEW Columnist

A new year has come and we made it. Barry Manilow’s song “I Made It Through the Rain” comes to mind.

The Pagosa Springs High School graduation class of 1981 used this song as its theme. “We dreamers have our ways of facing rainy days and somehow we survive. We keep the feelings warm, protect them from the storm until our time arrives. Then one day the sun appears and we come shining through those lonely years.”

I feel like I am reliving a bra-burning moment from the 1960s. All I want to do is throw off the mask that has muzzled me and burn it. I’m ready to move forward and be set free.

No doubt, 2020 has seen our faith tested and stretched. Fortunately, God’s love is faithful and never lets go. Even if we haven’t felt loved at times, God has been busy working in the background. 

I’m reminded of an old joke I once heard. An old woman looked over the top of the paper her husband was reading while sitting at the breakfast table. She said, “You never tell me you love me.”

The grumpy old man looked up from his newspaper and said, “I’m still here, ain’t I.”

Is that the lens by which we look at the new year? After all, God is still here. 

When my Sweet Al and I sold a former home, a friend said to me, “Take everything off the walls, remove everything from the house. It no longer belongs to you, Betty Slade does not live here anymore.”

Even after years of memories filled with children’s laughter and life’s aches, she was right. As soon as we moved everything out, there was an undeniable “new day” upon us. We were ready to move forward without so much as a look back.

In the Psalms it says, “A man’s days are like grass, as a flower of the field, so he flourishes, for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more, but the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him.” 

When we move into new territory, even if the old has forgotten us, the mercy of the Lord and his provisions still find us. 

As we move into the new year, perhaps it is alright if we look beyond where we were. Maybe it’s even OK if we let the old just slip away in the night, out of sight, out of mind. 

If you think about it, there is something very beautiful about walking through the rain. You just have to remember that the sun that you will soon feel on your face was always there.

Final brushstroke: A thought to live by: Every door we close behind us is the same as the one we open in front of us. The only difference is the newness we experience which God always had in our path. We just didn’t know it until we walked across that threshold.

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