For those of us living in the path of Hurricane Harvey, the American Red Cross has become a very familiar sight. In fact, anytime there is a major disaster of any kind, anywhere in the country, the Red Cross is on the job. Be it a hurricane, a flood, a tornado, a fire or whatever, the American Red Cross has become synonymous with disaster relief. So much so, that it now is the world’s largest disaster relief organization! That has not always been the case.
Established in Washington, D.C. on May 21, 1881, by Clara Barton, who served as its first president. Barton organized a meeting on May 12 of that year with fifteen people present. The first local chapter was established in 1881 at the English Evangelical Lutheran Church of Dansville at Dansville, New York. From humble beginnings, Clarissa “Clara” Harlowe Barton (December 25, 1821 – April 12, 1912) rose to international fame as a pioneering nurse as well as the founder of the American Red Cross. She was a hospital nurse in the American Civil War, a teacher, and patent clerk. Nursing education was not very formalized at that time and Clara did not attend nursing school. So she provided self-taught nursing care. Barton is noteworthy for doing humanitarian work at a time when relatively few women worked outside the home.
You would think that a person of such international fame who basically founded the American Red Cross all by herself, would be honored and revered by all. You would think wrong! After founding and then building the American Red Cross for some 20 years, she was forced out as the head of the organization and replaced by the Board of Directors! With accusations and rumors flying about, the entire situation turned extremely ugly and spiteful. It was from this then, the her most famous and memorable quote was recorded.
While visiting with a close friend, the friend brought up a particularly vicious deed that someone had done to her. Clara acted as if she had never even heard of the incident.
“Don’t you remember it?” her friend asked.
“No,” came Barton’s reply, “I distinctly remember forgetting it!”
Wow! What a powerful life-lesson for all of us! She intentionally forgot it! The deed was forgiven. The past deed was forgotten. Have you made the decision to forget the past? Many people don’t fully understand what that means. They wonder, “How can I forget something that’s happened to me?” But one definition of the word forget is to disregard intentionally or to overlook. In other words, you have to choose to disregard your past so that it doesn’t keep you from moving forward. That means the good and the bad. Sometimes our past victories keep us from rising higher as much as past failures. If we don’t let go of the old, we’ll never be able to embrace the new.
It doesn’t matter what’s happened in your history, it’s time to forget what lies behind. One of the most joyous situations we encounter with our residents at Rosebud Senior Services is when a resident and some of their family decide to forget the past and work toward the future together! Even though previously they may have been estranged from one another and thus, missing out on the love and affection offered by a close family. They now, intentionally forgive and forget! Make no mistake, forgiveness does NOT come naturally, you have to determine you are going to put hurts behind you and move forward toward the future.
So, today, make the intentional choice to live oriented toward the future and not dwelling in the rotten, hurting past. Trust that the Lord has a better future in store for you. Trust that He’s working behind the scenes and in people’s lives and hearts on your behalf. As you forget what lies behind and press forward, you’ll move forward. You’ll see increase and blessing and live the abundant life He has in store for you! Remember though, it is a choice you have to intentionally make.
Forgetting the past and living for the future is a sure combination for staying “On The Bright Side”!
Stay “On The Bright Side”
“I can no longer control what is past,
I DO control everything about my future!”