Scrooge was visited by three ghosts. His past, his present, and his future. They are all interconnected. I am wrestling with all of this so please do not read this with any anticipation that I have arrived at the answers or solution. This is my wrestling.
The past can not be changed. It will always be. I can change, how I view the past can be changed, and its impact on me can be changed. In science, they had to open up dead bodies so they could figure out how things worked. I feel like that is our past. We have to open it up, dig through the guts, and come face to face with it in order to have it release us to where we need to go. It is much better to process things through as they happen but most of us have never been taught that skill. Most of our parents were raised in days when you did not talk about things, you put on a happy face and pretended everything was ok even if the sky was falling. It is important to be honest (especially to ourselves) about how things made us feel so those feelings can no longer own us.
I wrote before about how my feelings are like a box and my sad box has so many things I need to unpack. Each time I open the box and unpack something it gets smaller. I mentioned there are some things in there that will never go away and that’s true, but they can get smaller and have a less negative impact on me. Our past will always be connected to who we are. It is part of my story but I don’t have to live in those chapters anymore. Maybe that’s why I am writing everything out. Maybe that is helping me move to the next chapters.
I watched a two minute video by Gary John Bishop (I love his accent!). They asked him how to move past your past and he had stong words that I mostly agreed with. The most impactful thing he said was, “you are defined by what you are about to do.” I’m mulling that over as I start 2019 and look at the blank canvas that lays before me and imagine all the colors I want to paint. I am writing my definition of myself by how I live my future. It means we can’t stall out, we have to keep going. The answers are not in the past, though the past is important. The answers are in the future as we understand our past and put it behind so that we can move forward.
The past wants to entangle us and hold us back. That’s not an option if we don’t choose it to be. The past is familiar and comfortable though it can be very unhealthy. It takes work and honesty to move ahead. It is difficult and usually painful but it’s worth it. Ken Dyck used to say “the only way through the pain is through the pain.” I love that because it’s true. The only way to get through it is to get through it
The future is uncertain, but what is certain is that I am heading into the future. I may not know all I am about to face, but I can know who I am as I am about to face it. I haven’t really been lost. I’ve been here the whole time. I’ve just needed to unpack.