Sitting in my local coffee shop this morning (which is a bit of an oxymoron because the first of all the Seattle based coffee house I'm currently buried is anything but local to Northern Ireland, and secondly…I don’t even drink coffee!), and as usual they were playing some great music. One of the tracks that wafted down to me from the ceiling was Sloop John B by the Beach Boys and immediately I was transported back a million years ago (slight exaggeration even though sometimes it feels like it) when I was first learning to play guitar because this was the very first song I ever learned to play. Well, to say “song” would again be a bit of an exaggeration as I think I may have only actually managed to play the first verse and chorus, but boy was I psyched when I did! I will never, ever forget that feeling I had when I was finally able to string my first two chords together. D and A. Even now I can feel the excitement that surged through me. In that moment, I was simply the greatest guitarist in the world.
I’ve had other significant moments of course. The day I first managed to ride my bike without stabilisers in front of a line of our neighbours with my Dad looking on hopefully with immense pride, or at least thankful relief that he wasn't having to rush to the local A&E department. There was the day I pulled off a seemingly impossible save in High School while playing in goals. Why on earth they ever let someone who isn't exactly the tallest person in the team be goalie, I'll never know; but my save was so good our teacher was still talking about it the next day. Then there was the day I scored from the halfway line in a youth football match and the time I scored the winner in a Boys Brigade Cup game.
In more recent years there was the time I realised one of my musical dreams when I had the opportunity to record in Nashville, and I’ll never forget the feeling I had on that trip when, flying into Newark airport I saw the New York skyline for the very first time. And of course there was the amazing day that Grace and I were married. What a day that was. All good times indeed, but also all moments that have all now passed into the mists of the past.
Don’t give up
Don’t stop believing that good things are ahead
We've all had memorable moments of some kind. Fleeting moments of excitement that leave us feeling like we've been rocketed to the very top of the world and believing that nothing could possibly ever be better than the feeling we had in that very moment…until of course the next exclamation mark of excitement punctuates the text of the unique story of us; and that’s the very reason why I’m writing today…to perhaps remind someone that there’s still something great ahead for you.
Maybe you’re feeling a bit washed out and believe that your best days are behind you. Perhaps you’ve been feeling that you’ll never be as good as you were in the past or that the mountain top looks an awfully long way away when you’re looking up from the valley floor that you’ve been tracking through for so long. Don’t give up. Don’t stop believing that good things are ahead. Use those fantastic moments from your past to inspire you today and remind yourself of how it felt to be in those experiences again. Use the energy of those good feelings to give thanks for all the great stuff that happens in life, because if you’re like me, you aren’t thankful enough to God for all the amazing experiences that life gives us. Sure there are plenty of down times, sad times, heart breaks and disappointments; but there are also so many exciting and uplifting moments as well.
While in the depths of winter, it can be all too easy to believe that it will never be spring again. But spring always follows winter. The world keeps turning and things always come around again. This is the way the universe and life works. There will always be highs and lows and for that reason it’s important to remind ourselves to keep believing that the best is still yet to come.
Have faith. Don’t surrender your hope because God hasn’t abandoned or forgotten you.
Where we live in Northern Ireland, our local council invested in thousands of daffodil bulbs a few years ago, planting them all throughout our area so that each spring we end up with these amazing meandering rivers of bright yellow that flow alongside many of our local roads. I think they’re simply stunning. So much so that I’ve decided that yellow daffodils are now my absolute favourite flower because of how bright and vibrant they are, even on the dullest of days. The thing with daffodils however, is that they don’t last very long, here for only an all-too-brief few weeks like swiftly passing moments of sunny brilliance. But we know this. We know that year after year they’re going to pop their little yellow heads up to brighten up our dreary Irish end of winter days, only to once again vanish almost as quickly as they came. But you know something else? They’ll be back, because that’s the way God designed them. As a wise man once said:
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven
And it’s true. Your good times aren’t gone forever. There’s more ahead. Trust. Believe. Have faith.
Hold on…because as the daffodils are here to remind us: there’s a season for everything and there are always good moments ahead.