MEMORIES hold the key to identity. What we cannot forget seems tied to how we see ourselves. Then, there is acceptance; healing wounds and thankfulness for joys of past.
I cannot explain it (though I would like to) but when I look at photographs of past I cannot help wanting to go back there. The past is a gift. I recognise the past was pivotal in making me the person I am today.
The photograph above, courtesy of the City of Karratha, reminds me of times spent. At this pub. Driving through the bottle shop, purchasing much liquor. (Drinking and sport were central to the [non-Christian] culture of this town and area in that day.) And though I don’t drink these days, I’m thankful for the experiences I had back then. It’s by no means an endorsement for alcohol, but it reminds me about one addiction (of a few over my lifetime) I have overcome.
I think of this town I was brought up in; the same town my eldest two children began life from. Locals who were there then tell me so much has changed, and in some ways that’s a pity, but the ground does not change.
Standing upon ground of our formation is sacred. One day I will return to walk the areas of my formative years. And I will want a week or two to really reflect and pray.
I’m so fond of those memories of old that seem to swell when we revisit old friends and their memories join with ours, as we all remember different details. Memories of old make for reminiscences of a full life.
Isn’t it glorious that God gives us each the opportunity to revisit the past? Some parts of our pasts, of course, could be horrendous. I’m personally unaware of anything I could not return to, but I know others can be affected. If it’s at all possible, we can return to those times of past that were pivotal in making us or revealing us as the people we are today.
I’m wondering whether it’s possible to move forward freely into a hope-filled future without having first reconciled aspects of our past that might continue to goad us. And how do we actually reconcile them?
We bear them, consciously. With help if necessary. We bear our memories and build them based in the truth of what we can remember. We learn to accept them. We accept those past versions of ourselves, for better, for worse. We accept others, for better, for worse. We reach acceptance, which is peace, for now. We conjoin peace with thankfulness.
I’ve discovered the past is pregnant with opportunity for healing, which birthed me into new life for the present.
First, I move forward into my past. I reconcile it. I take the journey forward into it. Leaving no stone unturned. Accepting difficult reminiscences. Knowing God holds me safely whilst there. Before returning to the present.
Moving forward into the past is pivotal if we’re to look back positively from the future.
When we’ve dealt with our past — neither denying it nor angry or depressed about it — hope, peace and joy fills our lives.