The one thing I know and that I’ve known for a while is that we often grip the details of our past. Whether this is regret or pain or sins from an old self; or whether this is the inability to get away from old thinking or old responses, I know what this is like. I know exactly who the past is. I know them well. In fact, sometimes I call this me. Sometimes I call this a mixture of who I was and who I want to be. Other times, I shake my head and asking the ever-popular question, “What the hell was I thinking?”
Why did I trust this person? Or, what did I say anything at all.
I could have kept my mouth shut. You know?
I know what it means to say something out of anger. I also know what it means to make a poor choice or wish I could take back something I said. Then again, I am sure that everyone knows what this is like. I’m sure there are people who’ve lied or said a mean thing; and now; to add color, they find themselves on the fringe of regret.
So, now what?
The questions come down to this.
How long does the last last? How many times do you have to pay for the regrettable yesterdays? How many times can a person say “I’m sorry,” before they can move on? How do you get away from this? You know what you did and you know that you feel badly. You have regret and shame and you know that you want to put the past behind you. You’ve been hurt or betrayed or lied to and ran astray; and you want to improve from this. You want to feel better. But how?
Or what about the filthy things? how do you let this go?
And by this I mean the skeletons in the closet. I mean the secrets that live within your skin. How long does it take to be rid of the past or rid of the memories? Or better yet, when are we all paid up? As in when are we paid in full, and no matter what is said or how the past finds its way into the light, when have we paid enough?
There are people who’ve committed a crime and after their time is served; they are released and yet – we capture ourselves in the prison of our mind. We are the captive and the captor, the prisoner and the warden
I have sat with people who say that life is filled with unforgivable items, in which case, there is no forgiveness. There is no recovery. There is no way to right the wrongs of their past and while the heart is not evil; there are remnants of our past which are far from saintly.
I think of the wreckage of my past and the discomfort that comes with this. I think about the apologies and the amends and all the times I held my hat in my hand; I was filled with apology and yet – whether anyone is without sin and ready to cast the first stone – safe to say that this law has past and although it says he who is without sin; let him be the one to cast the first stone – I think the moral conundrum we faced with this has faded. And now, first stone or second, we are quick to condemn and fire at will. We are quick to point fingers. We’re quick to shoot down dreams and sideline hopes. We hold ourselves back as well as each other. We do this because of a connection that we have with our past and opinions. We connect these ideas to memories and feelings, emotions, and opinions, and then above all, we come to a judgment of ourselves and others. We base our lives on a pass or fail ratio.
But for how long?
How long do we carry the weight of our past mistakes? How long do we hold the bags or beat ourselves up?
I’ve held the weight of my yesterdays and yes, there are thoughts that come and memories that arise in which, I know I feel shame. I know that I feel remorse. I know that at my best, I am capable of great things and yet, my regrets are remnants of me at my worst.
I believe in the ongoing spirit of personal redemption. And as I’ve said before; my redemption has nothing to do with your response. And nor does mine have anything to do with yours. To each their own. Understand?
I believe that we pay and we take. But if we give and receive and learn to balance this; there is peace that comes to those who make peace with themselves. And this doesn’t mean the whole world forgives or forgets. All this means is time builds up and days add together.
Crimes of the heart or the pain from the past can and will heal and life can and will improve.
Someone once told me, “You have to give time some time to do its thing.” And therefore, in the middle of heartache or in the middle of doubt and regret; our pages will turn and our chapters will change. We can grow. We can repent in our own way. We can heal. We can recover. We can be better and whole again if we allow it.
I am in no way a saint, which is not to say that I am an all-out sinner. But yes, I have sins. I have pain. I have a past and I have mistakes. I have a heavy heart at times, and yet; all I know is when the alarm rings in the morning, my job is to show resilience, to learn to endure, and to face what comes, no matter what it is.
This does not mean life is going to be easy. This does not mean redemption is an easy thing to find nor does this mean the whole world will be on your side. All this means is after the downfall; if you have breath in your lungs and blood in your veins, you have the ability to improve and overcome.
We’ve all been our own worst enemy at one point or another. And, with that being said; it’s okay to be your own best friend. It’s okay to be your own hero; this way, you can save your own life instead of waiting around for someone to come save it for you.
There isn’t much more to this. There is only the secret to what we can endure. There’s the facts of misfortune and the truth of pain but there is hope. There is a way, which is not always clear or simple. All a person can do is wake up in the morning, one day at a time, and work to move forward.
And don’t worry. It’s like they say about a money back guarantee. If you try and you’re still not happy, your past will always be there, waiting for you. Then again, so is your future.
Know what I mean?