My past, my history, is like a monster sometimes.
I remember when my daughter was young and was afraid of monsters at night. I would pretend to write a note on her door every night. With my special ink that flowed out of my finger, I wrote “Monsters better stay away from Kory or they will get beaten up by her big daddy!!!” With my special finger ink, only monsters could read the message but she believed it worked because no monsters ever got her. Of course, there were no monsters but something had made her fear they might exist and, to some degree, still does. Even now when she comes home from college she sleeps with her closet light on. It’s a fear of something that doesn’t exist.
My past doesn’t exist in the present but I often treat it like it does. I keep dragging it along with me, living with it in the present moment as if it were real today. It was real at one point and I know, intellectually, it died at the point the past became the present. The past is dead, only a memory, so I have to ask myself why I try to make it come to life in current situations and relationships.
There is no doubt my past is a good teacher. I want to do things very differently in a current relationship because of what I have learned in the past. The danger is that I sometimes take the pain of the past and apply it to what is happening today even though a lot has changed. It’s like a monster that isn’t real except in my imagination.
The challenge is to treat the past with truth that it did exist but also know that it does not live in the present moment. I know people who won’t talk about the past at all. They hide relationships and mistakes and failures fearing that someone will think less of them because of what happened in the past. I have been one of those people. I know people who will talk openly about the past and take every wound and apply it to what is happening to them today to keep people from getting too close. I have been one of those people too. I know people who can’t live in the present because their past haunts them too deeply. I have been one of those people too.
I don’t want anymore special ink to keep monsters away. I want to let the monsters die. I want to leave them in the past and move on. I feel myself doing that slowly but surely but it isn’t always easy. Every now and then I let a monster come raging back in as if it were really alive and well. It’s my imagination giving it life but I let myself do it anyway.
I’m tired of the past/monsters affecting how I see today and the future. I’m tired of holding myself and others back by something that does not exist today. I pray for the strength, courage and wisdom to lay the past down, walk away and live knowing today is a new day. It doesn’t mean I can’t learn something from the past, only that the past doesn’t dictate the present if I don’t let it.
Grace and peace.