Instead of going around the same block today, I decided not to turn. I went straight, into another neighborhood. I stopped at this tree.
I looked at it for a long time. I knew it was dying. One branch had a few leaves but the entire top looked pale and bare. I wondered if they would chop it down. I just sat there looking at that tree for a long time. I took many pictures of it. I then kept going straight down that road. At some point I said, “OK, this is far enough, time to turn back.” I turned back. I came back to the same tree but it wasn’t the same tree! It was in the same spot. It was exactly the same tree. But from this angle it looked completely different.
How could the same tree look completely different from different angles? From one view it was dying and soon to be cut down, from the other it was bursting forth with new leaves and thriving.
I continued on my way home. I looked back at that tree a few times. As soon as I pulled into my wheelchair ramp at the front door I decided I wasn’t quite ready to be home. I turned around. Right behind me was the most beautiful sunset. I hadn’t even seen it because it was at my back as I was driving home. But as soon as I turned around there it was. So I turned back the way I had come to look at the sky. I sat in the middle of the road and stared up at the beautiful sky.
Had I not turned back I would not have seen the tree from a different angle. Had I not turned back I would not have seen this beautiful sky.
Every self help book tells you to move forward. Always move forward. Don’t go back. Let go of the past. Move forward. But sometimes, if you turn back, you may see things at a completely different angle. You may have missed the beauty that was right behind you if you hadn’t turned to look. Looking back from where you are now, things may appear differently. You may find beauty where before you only saw bare and lonely.
It’s okay to look over your shoulder sometimes. Change directions. See things from a different angle. Life does not have to be linear. Sometimes taking a few steps back isn’t always a bad thing especially if you see a sunset that you missed the first time.