Putting the Past Away
|Dawn breaks at Folly Beach, S.C. Shot in spring 2017.|
In the last few days, seeking to find and edit a piece to bring into writer's group, I have been returning to personal writing I did in the past. In some of it, the voice is quite strong. Some of it is well-written.
But this writing expresses such pain -- such deep, deep pain and alienation. I have been wrestling with this pain as I attempt to edit these pieces into anything close to presentable. I also recognize that I have done a lot of maturing and growing over the last three to four years. I have come a long way -- no small thanks to my parents, who have been my rock and anchor. I wonder if I simply have outgrown these pieces of writing.
The decision to grow and mature was, first of all, about hitting rock-bottom and then a judgment call to turn my life over to God's good care. I really felt like there was nothing else to do: I had exhausted all other choices. God was my last resort, and he was beautiful to me.
Recently, I have started to look at the option of moving into a place of my own. I am excited -- but also nervous. First of all, can I afford it? But second of all, how will I do when I am fully responsible for myself again? Will I remain medication compliant? Will I do the work I have to do, of staying connected to people and also caring for myself?
I have failed in the past to do these things. Who says now will be different? Who says I deserve a second chance?
Well, I believe in a God who holds out as many chances as there are grains of sand on the beach. This doesn't mean there aren't consequences to our actions. There are. But, eventually, the pain of the past ebbs. We pick ourselves up and move forward. We develop healthier coping skills.
My parents are giving me a second chance, too -- no, a third, fourth, fifth, or sixth chance. They are remarkable people. Their agreement to allow me to look for an apartment is a testament to the love that we share -- and the bond of trust we are rebuilding.
So I am moving forward in life. So what do I do with this old writing, this writing with a strong voice that expresses such pain, that doesn't express where I am today?
In the end, what do we do with our pasts?
I have decided that I must find a way to honor this old writing, to incorporate it in my journey, but also to do more hopeful writing, the writing of the present. I will learn from the past, take its lessons to heart, and then move forward into a better life.
Dawn is breaking in my world. I will mourn the pain of the past, but also welcome the joy of the present and the hope of the future. And I may mourn the past, but I don't regret it -- no, I have learned too much from it. It has made me who I am today.
I will embrace who I am, past and all, and walk forward into the light.