“It isn’t where you came from, it’s where you’re going that counts.” – Ella Fitzgerald

That’s so true in so many aspects of our human journey. Some of our past needs to be processed or better understood in order for us to move on. But there are plenty of things in our past that we can just leave behind us. Ella Fitzgerald understood that – apparently from very early on in her life. Working poor Ella Fitzgerald knew about overcoming adversity. There were plenty of circumstances that could have limited her opportunity. Somehow she rose above and moved beyond all of them to became “Queen Ella” – America’s First Lady of Song.

Sinatra said Ella Fitzgerald was the best singer he ever heard and the only one who made him nervous to sing with, because he had to be up to her standards. “The best way to start any musical evening is with this girl. It don’t get better than this,” Frank said about performing with Ella.

On the 100th anniversary of her birth, NPR aired a thoughtful piece that celebrated her triumph over adversity and the salvation Ella Fitzgerald found in music. You can listen to that here.

When considering our past, it may be helpful to think about windshields and rearview mirrors. Windshields are big and are where most of our attention ought to be. Rearview mirrors are small as should be the amount of attention we pay to the past.

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