Day 84: Past Imperfect

So, I’m reading this novel.  It’s a thriller.  England.  Rain.  A fatal accident.  Or was it?   Atmospheric.  Menacing. I’m in heaven!   When suddenly I realize that this is not the first novel in the series.  This book is the third in a continuing series!  I’M IN THE MIDDLE OF THIS CHARACTER’S STORY!!  No, no, no. I have to start at the beginning.  Something about the fact that this character has a past (however fictional) is ruining everything!  I close the book and reserve the original at the library.  Even as I surrender to what I know is a compulsive behavior, I can’t help but ponder the power yesterday holds over the today. How often do we allow the past to paralyze us?  Why do we let our history with all its limitations and expansions affect our present and future?

Jesus is all about today.  When he invites virtual strangers to come live with him, he never questions their past or asks for a resume.  He merely makes an invitation to follow, join, change and be open to the adventure of right now.  I wonder if it is possible to approach each new day without being shackled by the past.  What if we were to approach our daily challenges with the knowledge that our past, however flawed, provides us with a reservoir of knowledge, wisdom and experience that will assist us in our ongoing development?

I suppose the past can either be a prison or a resource center.  I suspect that all of us need to release the jeering and the medals, the touchdowns and the fall downs.  The triumphs and the disappointments belong in the scrapbook, not in the discernment of what I can or cannot do today.  Recently I have been made aware that today is all we have . . . it’s all we’ve ever had.

Yesterday is gone.  Tomorrow has not yet come.  We have only today.  Let us begin.

          ~ Mother Teresa

We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.

        ~ Rick Warren


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6 Responses to Day 84: Past Imperfect

  1. Linda says:

    This was the perfect post to see today. I had already decided that the message of today’s gospel coming on my birthday was a call to transfigure myself this year. It’s a challenge to transform myself to live in the moment with Christ, looking neither backwards nor forwards, and trying to discern and do what He would want me to do right now.
    I must confess, though, that I also have a thing about starting a good book series in the middle 😉

  2. Barbara says:

    Thank you.

  3. Pam Zweifel says:

    Thank you for this life changing message of acceptance and hope!

  4. Martha Dolciamore says:

    Its hard for me to now live totally on my own. I keep reaching into the past when I had so many people dependent on me for my care and now find myself with no one to care for me. I try to face each day as a day God gave to me to enjoy. And I try to keep the ‘pity party’ for one on hold and find, instead, the beauty that each day brings me. Thanks for posting.

  5. debbie says:

    ❤ wise…if only we could live like that our lives would be so much richer and fuller and so much less pain- O Lord hear our Prayer…

  6. Laura Cavanaugh says:

    I’ve been pondering some of these same things lately! It’s not a coincidence, perhaps, that I returned to your blog today!
    The thought that rings truest in my own mind is that we need to be fully present in _every_ moment of our lives, good and ‘bad.’ I put the word ‘bad’ in quotation because I don’t really believe _any_ experience is bad, no matter how awful. Some of the best, most amazing, powerful, transformative things come from our worst moments. And sometimes, good memories help us to deal with bad things that are happening now. The downside of dwelling in the past is that it draws us away from the present, and the present, as they say, is the gift. How many times have we thought: If I’d only done this, I wish I hadn’t said that, If I could go back – I’d change ____, Things were better when…? We lose sleep. We’re cranky. We beat ourselves up over stuff that’s beyond our control. Because, of course, forgiving (or forgetting) _others_ is the easy part! But, when we forgive _ourselves_, we can toss (forget) the stuff that doesn’t fit in the suitcase, or at very least, stow the baggage so we can get on the plane and continue our journey. One miracle of forgiveness is that it gives us the power to change the past and remain in the present at the same time.

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