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Posts Tagged ‘Present’

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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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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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.

Prelude

Walking to the bench, the bench I had passed so many times, was like that magical experience of walking the flower lined aisle at my wedding, with my eyes filled with contained tears. I was walking deliberately, intentionally, from the past, and into a new future, full of dreams and hopes like a bride, eager to sign the marriage covenant with the one she loves.

As I lay the bouquet on the bench, and the tears spilled onto my cheeks, a sense of beginning and of completion took over. All of the pieces of my life were flashing before me. I could see how interwoven each and every step of my life was.

I felt as though by laying these roses on the bench, I was saying goodbye and hello. I felt as though my action, although small, tied me to the past and to the future at the same time.

My future … it was not long ago that I felt I had no future. It was just days before when death looked more hopeful than life itself. It was just days before when a death brought me back to life. No, not back to life, it was as if I was introduced to life for the first time.

Days ago, I had not dreamed that I would, that I could find such value and satisfaction from such a simple act. Days ago death was all I could see.

There is just no way that anyone could ever have constructed the details of so many things of the past number of years, of my whole life, to bring me to this point. In the most perfect of timing, revelations of my past were placed into my hands, and they allowed me to open the door to my future. It was all such impossibility that these circumstances were laid out in front of my, in a way that would bring me full circle.

The questions that I had stopped asking, but were always with me, were answered. The pieces of my life had come together in the most beautiful bouquet of completion. My life, my whole life, had come together, like seeds and plants of a variety of species, planted together in a garden designed by a master

There is only one way for all of these pieces to come together in the way they had, and that way was so out of my control, and yet in complete control of my entire life, all this time.

I took a deep breath, stood back to look at those roses on the bench, tears flowing steadily.

From somewhere deep inside of me, a song emerged on my tongue;

“I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses …”

Rose Part 2

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I love to anticipate things to come. I love to plan vacations, and times away with hubby. I love to count down weeks to school breaks (currently only five more weeks of work until summer break starts …). I love to dream about concerts and other events that I have tickets to, I awaken and my mouth starts watering as I contemplate what I will prepare for dinner.

My brain loves to focus on the good things to come. It is a survival tactic, to get through the more mundane parts of life (this is my undiagnosed ADD talking). It is my way of focusing on the prize that is to come.

I plot and plan, I dream and scheme, all with the hopes of ordering my future fixation … whatever it might be.

It is not bad to look forward to good things that we anticipate coming our way. It is just that we must keep in mind that our planning for future events and experiences is not guaranteed.

I might plan a vacation, and then something comes up that requires I change those plans. I might be looking forward to a summer off, but when a job comes up that could ease our family finances, I need to take it, and forgo that time of R & R. A concert that I have tickets to might get canceled. I might plan something amazing for dinner, but because I end up taxiing kids all afternoon, that gourmet dinner is substituted with hot dogs.

In the midst of my plotting and dreaming, my hopes and dreams, life happens. It is rarely what I would have chosen the path of my life to be.

Even worse, though, than having my plans not be fulfilled, is that I can be so fixated on what is to come, that I forget to enjoy and fully live in the present moment. My eyes can be straining so hard to see the future that they cannot focus on what is currently before me.

That might mean that I am missing out on the beauty, the lessons, the preparation for whatever is around the next corner. In my preoccupation with the future, I might be missing out on the gift of the present time.

“Today is mine.
Tomorrow is none of my business.
If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future,
I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly
what is required of me now.”
Elisabeth Elliot

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Impressions come in many forms. There are the impressions we make on others, either by how we look, or act, or how we make them feel. There are also impressions, like the ones that imprint a physical lasting mark, like a tattoo or a scar.

I have an impression, a scar, on my left ring finger. It is an indelible impression, one that will never go away, one that is permanent.

Over a year ago I noticed a frustratingly itchy rash on my ring finger, the ring finger where I wore my wedding ring. I figured the best was to alleviate the non-stop irritation was to remove my wedding ring.

Sure enough, it worked! Not over night, but eventually (and with the use of a good healing cream), the rash and it’s nasty irritation were gone.

But, I have yet to return to wearing my wedding band. I had gotten out of the habit of wearing it, and that is really saying something, because, other than the few times I was in a hospital, I had never removed my wedding ring (night or day) since my husband placed it on my finger, over twenty-two years ago.

Now, over a year after removing it, there is an impression of that ring still visible on my finger.

It has faded a bit, but only slightly. I have been altered by the symbol of the vow I made all those years ago. It is a permanent scar, forever there to remind me of that vow I made with my words.

That is what the impression of a scar does, it reminds us. It can remind us of when we were a child and suffered a deep wound. A scar reminds us of the surgery that may have saved our life. A scar reminds us of pain.

But a scar, like the one on my ring finger, can also remind us of the hope of a new life with someone, of dreams fulfilled, and ones yet to happen. It can remind us of overcoming pain, of beating struggles, of memories made, and secrets shared and children shared, and a sense of oneness with another that can only be shared by two who bear the same scars.

One of these days I will pull that gold band back out (or maybe hubby will) and place it back on my finger. Until then, there is a permanent scar, an indelible impression that reminds me every day of the past, and the present, and the future to come.

“Children show scars like medals.

Lovers use them as secrets to reveal.

A scar is what happens when the word is made flesh.”

Leonard Cohen

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