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Posts Tagged ‘Past’

I do not remember where I saw these words, but when I first read, “the past is always present” I loved them. A play on words that contradicts itself, and yet is so true as we live our lives.

I love the past concerning my childhood (although, there was that time I got stung by like a gazillion bees just because I listened to the advice of Mr. Dressup … HE was wrong about standing still … but, I digress).

I love the past of my teenage memories (most of them … there was that time I mistakenly tucked my skirt into my undies, and then walked on a busy road to my grandmother’s place, with my back end in the forefront … but, I digress).

I love the past of my heritage (I grew up on the east coast of Canada, in a family who have been there for, literally, hundreds of years).

I love the past of my marriage (I have the most fantastic memories of vacations, and planning for vacations … that is something we are good at together).

I love the past of my children being born, and growing up (each stage is so full of novelty and excitement).

What I do realize, though, is that although the past is … past, it is still here, in the present. It is part of who we are today, how we think, and how we react. It is the reason we anticipate some events, as well as the reason we feel anxious about other events. When I see or hear a bee, I immediately respond (at least inwardly) due to my being stung as a child … that memory of the past is always there.

The past can keep us from making the same mistakes too. There is not a time that I am wearing a skirt or dress that I do not, consciously, check to ensure that the back end of … me, is covered up.

Pride in my country, and the part of it where I come from are a result of the place I grew up and the cultural expectations I experienced there.

Every time I see a tent on a green, grassy hill, I remember a memorable vacation with hubby.

Every time I see a woman, pregnant for the first time, I glance at her eyes, and know that, once that baby is born, no future decision will ever be the same, because she will never again be the same.

The past is always within us, even today. Our choices today will have impact on how we live tomorrow … and each tomorrow after that.

The greatest consequence of the past is that we remember. We remember experiences, we remember joys, we remember hurts, we remember what we have conquered, and what has conquered us. The past IS always with us, so we need to live today acknowledging the long term consequences of our present.

“Choose well. Your choice is brief, and yet endless.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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I was excited to put a Christmas gift to good use, and immediately separated all of the parts contained in a gift box including coconut-scented body scrub, body butter, shower cream, a bath bar and a new puff. I am calling it :

memories of summer sunscreen

and I love it! Could there be a better scent for the monsoon season of the Pacific Northwest, than something that reminds ones nostrils of summer?

As I entered my shower I excitedly tossed my old shower puff … resembling more of a shower afghan, it was so stretched and misshapen. The new, replacement one was still almost round, and firm and delightfully clean.

I poured my memories of summer sunscreen coconut-scented shower cream onto the puff and smiled in anticipation of smelling better, and feeling cleaner that I had in months!

“OUCH!” I declared, audibly, in my private steamy oasis. That new puff lacked the benefit of having been softened by daily use, it’s edges were stiff and it’s effect was harsh to my tender, early morning, skin. I needed to alter my use. I needed to apply less pressure. The puff and I needed to come to an understanding of middle ground. I had not realized just how much pressure I had been putting on my old puff until I replaced it with the new, and like the idiom,

a new broom sweeps clean,

a new puff also rubs clean … and rough.

My epidermis is sensitive, and this was quite a violent way of cleaning the dead skin cells from the surface of my body!

Did you know that (according to http://www.kidshealth.org) we lose about nine pounds of skin cells every year … without breaking a sweat! Our skin, the human body’s largest organ, has an important job to do as it protects our bodies, holds everything together and gives us the ability to experience the sense of touch.

It was almost tempting to reach into that trash can and retrieve the old puff … but … I knew that the new one would probably clean better, removing the dead skin cells, so as to allow those below them to surface, so as to allow my skin to do it’s job well, so as to allow my skin to breath.

Even now, just a few days into using it, my skin feels more smooth.

The pain is worth it for the gain!

So it can be with any rough, painful, unexpected adjustment in life. The adjustments of today could pain off big time … in time. But, reaching back into the trash can of the past, means we are still dealing with the dirt of yesterday.

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet.
Only through experience of trial and suffering
can the soul be strengthened,
ambition inspired,
and success achieved.”

Helen Keller

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English poet, Alexander Pope said, “to err is human; to forgive, divine,” expressing well that forgiveness takes a Christ-likeness to offer, but I wish he had said something about forgetting as well.

I was reminded of this when I encountered a reminder of my past mistakes, failures, sins. I felt certain that I had acknowledged what I had been doing wrong, had asked for forgiveness and had been striving in my daily life to not return to the wrongdoings of my past. Then it was back, staring me in the face like nothing had ever changed. I was blown away, frustrated and disappointed.

When God heals us of our sin, it is a complete and miraculous event. He can take our failures and foibles and redeems them, and us, so fully that we are encapsulated by His forgiveness, and the altering that only He can do in our human hearts and lives. Even to the extent that we completely forget our actions.images-4

But we humans are not divine, and we cannot forget completely.

I was so sure, so confident that God had healed me from those sins. That they were forgiven, erased and forgotten for all time … and that was and is true. What I had missed was that, although I felt transformed, cleansed and redeemed, there still are Earthly consequences to sin, and one of the most pervasive consequences is that others do not forget.

What frustration to have worked so hard at allowing God to change ourselves for the better, only to have someone throw our past mistakes back into our faces. It would feel like our efforts are hopeless.

But our efforts at allowing God to change our lives, our hearts, are never hopeless or meaningless. Every good and broken part of our lives are part of His plan for our life.

Just like the injuries of childhood heal completely, and the pain of them be completely forgotten they still leave scars that stay with us all of our life, and sin leaves lifelong scars too. But like a physical scar from our childhood, that can remind us of the pain of touching a hot stove, the reminders of of our past sins can remind us to continue pursuing right living, and of how very humanly frail we really are.

“For I will forgivetheir wickedness
    and will remember their sins no more.”
Jeremiah 31:34

 

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So, I am now at day number two of my Top 10 Goals for 2013, and this time the focus is hubby.

He REALLY does not appreciate posts about him, that mention him, that use him as an example … so, in honor of his preference that I not write about him … heck, I’m just going to do it anyway!

P&C Cropped

He has to forgive me … comes with the whole “love, honor and … forgive” 😉

Here are my Top Ten Goals for my Marriage for 2013:

  1. Do not go to bed angry – I mentioned this yesterday in regards to our kids and it doesn’t hurt to say it again, “do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” (Ephesians 4:26).
  2. Get away – make time for at least one night each season to get away together, sans children, as a couple. It is so easy, with all of the demands of life, to forget that the family we created started with us, just us, and for this family to continue we need to invest in us.
  3. Respect him – As I write it I just know that some poor, misinformed lady is going to interpret respecting your husband as some kind of response to an archaic male dominated patriarchal society or religion. That is NOT what this is about! He is a child of God, like me, and as such I need to respect him …
  4. Make his life easier – I am sure that there is at least one thing I can do each week to make his life easier … from answering the phone (instead of letting him, because it is always for him), to doing his dinner clean up once in a while (not too often, as I do not want him to get too used to being relieved of ‘his’ chore).
  5. Thank him – so often when we live with someone it is so easy to forget our manners. Please and thank you are words I know I need to use more often with my man.
  6. Let him decide – … and be okay with his decision! My hubby knows that if I say “you choose” his whole future is at stake. I need to trust him to make a decision, and trust the outcome!
  7. Surprise him – there is nothing like veering from the normal, everyday, meatloaf every Monday stagnant way of living to bore a couple to mediocrity! Start seeing excitement and refreshment in someone else. I WILL surprise him … and the details of that, well those are between the two of us 😉 .
  8. Remember the past – I need to reflect on those days, so many years ago, when we only knew adoring love (aka, before we were married 😉 ) … not bills, crisscrossing schedules, and to do lists.
  9. Forget the past – we have baggage, and that is a reality, but the past is the past, and needs to be left there. We cannot move forward if I keep looking back.
  10. Plan for the future – “Where there is no dreaming for the future, the marriage relationship is dead” (that is the Carole Wheaton interpretation of Proverbs 29:18) … enough said.

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Cleaning is so therapeutic … and messy!

Over the past months I have been cleaning and purging all through the house. I have gone through a storage closet, through the garage, through all the children videos and DVDs, through a hall closet, a bedroom closet. Each time I begin cleaning sneezing soon begins to happen. The amounts of dust is directly related to the amount of time since I last cleaned that area.

When I clean I am thorough! I take everything off the shelves and out of the spaces, and I go through every container, every item, every box. I often separate items into one of three piles:

keep
give away
throw away

Usually I am shocked at what I find. I find treasures that I forgot about, ones that bring such sweet memories back. I find other things I had forgotten about that I am not so thrilled to see again, or surprised that I had kept them in the first place. There are things that still fit perfectly, and other things that I cannot imagine how I ever squeezed into.

And so, I organize, I get rid of and I dust.

When it is all done I am usually a dusty mess! It takes a significant amount of time and effort to really clean a space. I feel such relief, such pride that my efforts have paid off in such a visually rewarding way, when I stand back and admire my work.

I am sure we all have similar boxes on shelves … and I am sure that not all of them are physical boxes.

As we grow and change we take fragments of our life, and pack them into boxes, which we then set upon shelves, to do nothing more but gather dust. Sometimes the things in those boxes are so painful, and bring back such heart wrenching memories that we allow the dust to settle on them for years so as to avoid having to face them again. Sometimes the things in those boxes topple into our lives unannounced and unexpected, jolted from the safety of their cardboard homes up on that out of reach shelf, and they surprise us with how much we do remember, but had pushed away so long ago.

When those most dusty of all the boxes in our lives get forced open and their contents strewn throughout our present life, we realize that it is impossible to pack them away forever. We realize that the things we want to stay in the past are actually attached to us as we walk through each day. They are the silent, invisible yet powerful forces that guide us in our decision-making. They guide us in whether we:

repeat the past
run from the past or
learn from the past

We think that we have put the boxes so high, and closed the door shut tight on the realities of the foundations of our lives, but they were never packed away, we have just been living like the ostrich who hides his head in the sand to escape the realities of his life. And like that ostrich, our heads will one day need to come up for air, and face the realities of our lives that we have been hiding from.

Each of us will, one day, need or be forced to take the dustiest boxes down from the shelf, and dare to look inside, resolving that no matter how much time and effort it takes, we will clean up the contents. We will need to decide:

what to keep
what to give away
what to throw away

Cleaning is so therapeutic …. and messy.

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This is a series about a woman, roses on a park bench, and an amazing set of circumstances that bring her into a new future … one she never could have dreamed, would take her from sorrow to hope.
Each week there will be a new installment.

As I looked back to see what is was that caught my eye, I was intrigued to see it was a bouquet of flowers, laying on an empty park bench.

The bench was seated in front of a small apartment building, but near to the sidewalk. So that if one was out for a walk it could provide a place of rest. Although there was a bus stop just a few feet away, the bench did not have the appearance of a bus stop bench, but one a person might have in their garden.

The bouquet of flowers looked fresh, very fresh. As though they had been just bought that morning, but forgotten on the bench by someone.

I wonder if they were forgotten by someone. Maybe that person laid them on the bench for just a moment while making a call, or helping a young child pick up the toy they dropped. Then, when their bus arrived they forgot to pick them up again.

Or, maybe a woman had been given the flowers while on a date,  last date, with a man whose charm was only on the surface. And maybe he gave her the flowers at the beginning of the date, only to dump her as their time together moved on. And maybe, the beautiful on the surface, but bitter to her heart’s eyes bouquet got thrown to the bench, like her heart to sorrow.

Or, maybe there was a woman waiting for her love to arrive off of the bus, and when he arrived he was overcome by her appearance, and set the bouquet down on the bench. Then he rose to go to her and greet her with a passionate kiss. The flowers forgotten as his eyes and thoughts were only of her.

What was that?

Oh my, horns are honking! I just lost my head in my imaginative world. I am ridiculous!

I looked back at the man in the vehicle behind me. He was angry, volatile really, with his mouth moving, and hands flailing. It was as if my crime of daydreaming which caused him to have to wait a few seconds longer at an intersection, was the worst violation possible.

I moved my vehicle into drive, and looked straight ahead to avoid the glares and raised finger of the man in the truck behind me. He could seriously use a romantic story right now.

As we were directed through the intersection I glanced around, wondering about the stories of the lives of the people who had been involved in the accident. I wondered if they were hurt badly. I wondered what this accident might have kept them from. I wondered if the effects of this seemingly minor accident, might affect the course of their lives.

Then I shook my head.

What was I thinking? My daydreaming had just about caused the heart failure of the man driving behind me. I could not allow my pondering of what looked like a minor fender bender to possibly cause some other horrible fate for another.

The possible stories were endless, though.

One chance meeting, one glance in a certain direction, could result in a tragedy that could change the lives of people forever.

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This is a series about a woman, roses on a park bench, and an amazing set of circumstances that bring her into a new future … one she never could have dreamed, would take her from sorrow to hope.
Each week there will be a new installment.

Finally, I had gotten all of the kids dropped off to school, and I was as free as a bird to spend the entire day as I desired.

I had it all planned. I would go to the coffee shop, order my most favorite, ‘happy’ drink (an Earl Grey Tea Latte). Then I would find a seat by window, and sit reading my novel, for as long as I desired.

I could feel my body relaxing, just from imagining how wonderful it would be!

I didn’t even feel guilty for this ‘unproductive’ me time. It had been months, no, years since I had any time to myself (unless you counted the few times that I would get groceries on my own).

Finally, ten years after having baby number one (also known as Alison), seven years after having baby number two (also known as Michael), and five years after having Suzanna, I was about to have a day to myself.

Today I took Suzanna to school for the first time. While other mothers and their children sniffed and sobbed, Suzanna did her best to convince me that I did not have to walk her into the classroom. I did though, not because I felt she needed me to, or that I needed to do so for myself, but because it seemed like the right thing to do. Really it was because I was worried what the other mothers and the teacher would think if I my little girl were to walk herself into class on the first day of kindergarten.

Ah, the old, “what would people think of me” conundrum. I wonder if we ever outgrow that guilt-laden way of thinking. I wonder, at what age do we begin to thing that way? Making our decisions based on what other people would think of us. I am sure it must be a learned way of thinking, and not something that we do innately.

For now, though, there was no guilt, no pressures, no stresses. It was just me and an entire day of freedom. I was almost giddy with anticipation.

Then, out of nowhere, the car ahead of me stopped abruptly. My brain and body went into automatic pilot, and my vehicle screeched to an immediate stop. I was sure I was mere millimeters from the vehicle in front of me, but was so thankful that the sound of crunching metal, that I had anticipated, never was made.

I peered to the left, and the right, and still could see no reason for the abrupt stop. So I rolled my window down, so as to lean out and see ahead of the line of waiting vehicles. It appeared to be an accident, at the intersection. There was a police cruiser, and vehicle parts in the intersection.

I moved my head back into my van, and as I did something to the left caught my eye.

Rose Part 1

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