Letting go of the past…

Or just getting rid of the “junk”. Either way, it’s not a pleasant task, but it certainly feels so much better when it’s done!

Some times it’s necessary to get to the next phase in life, some times it’s just plain necessary.

In this case…it was a little of both.

We sorted, we tossed, we stopped and wondered “what in the world do we do with this?”

The task is not done.

But it’s a step. A big step in the right direction, and a much lighter step now that the load isn’t as heavy!

truck full of stuff

There’s plenty more where this came from, but at the end of the day, when the trash was taken to the dump, and the slightly used items were taken to the Good Will bin, it just felt good.

Good to tackle an unpleasant project, good to clean up and get organized, and good to just let it go.

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this time last week

This time last week I was traveling north to be with my daughter and her husband, to celebrate the 1st birthday of our youngest grandson. A sweet little blue-eyed boy, with a sparkle in his eyes, and the infectious belly laugh of a one year old.

Happy Birthday, little guy!  I love you so much!

Rick looking up at me

This time last week, 26 lives were ripped from this world in a horrific shooting at a grade school in Newtown CT.  The lives of mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, grandmas and grandpas, were changed in ways that I can’t even imagine.  Changed in a way I don’t want to imagine, because it should never have to be imagined.  It just shouldn’t be.

The extreme contrast of the two did not go unnoticed by anyone in my family.  Our event was to celebrate a life, a milestone.  In Newtown, they were mourning. It was a tragedy.  Plain and simple, as there is just no other way to describe it.

My heart, it is so full.  It’s full and overflowing with the memories of the week-end, and struggling with the wide range of emotions.  The sorrow for the families who are in so much pain. The blessing of a wonderful husband, the gift of amazing children, and the joy of precious grandchildren.

I feel a little like Mary right now, “pondering all these things in my heart“. It was a very special moment in my life.  Our time together as a family was full of laughter, and hugs, and smiles. In Newtown, there are only hugs and tears.

And once again I am made aware of life and its brevity. How abruptly it can end, and how important it is to cherish my family each moment that we have together.  I am reminded by the powerful message of the inability to control, and I am overwhelmed by the security and knowledge that we are all in the Hands of God.

The peace of forgiving

“Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.”
― Lewis B. Smedes

Forgive and Forget: Healing the Hurts we Don’t Deserve” by Lewis B Smedes, is probably the best book I’ve ever read on the subject of forgiveness.

The impact it had on my life was a sense of freedom and release from the bondage of the inability to forgive.  I knew that it was the right thing to do, and I would often get to the point where I thought I could forgive, and then I would stop.

Nope! in my mind, I didn’t want to give the other person the privilege of my forgiveness.  I wanted them to feel the pain that I had felt! Maybe even more!

The reality of it is this, it just doesn’t work like that.

Anyone who is cruel enough to cause pain and not ask for forgiveness after the fact, does not feel any guilt or pain by our resistance to forgive them.  Their life goes on, and they probably continue in the same vein of hurting others.

They are not even giving a second thought to the deed done to me. But my life becomes consumed by unhealthy emotions.  I become conflicted with my own guilt over the unwillingness to forgive, and the bitterness and anger caused by the hurt and the pain.

I learned that the act of forgiveness does not mean that I can or should forget, nor is it required of me to forget. However, forgiveness is still required. It doesn’t mean that I never experienced the pain and the hurt, and it doesn’t mean that I will never remember it again. What it means is that I have made the choice to forgive.

And in choosing to forgive, I move forward with new hope and peace in my heart. I can’t excuse, tolerate or forget, I can only forgive.  And in forgiving, I am released from the bondage of guilt and bitterness.

(Interesting note, Lewis B Smedes died on this day in 2002.  I had no knowledge of this until today.  I am thankful for his insight into a very painful subject.  He certainly had an impact on my life.)

My tears

I’ve been thinking about emotions lately, mainly the emotion of crying.  When and why do we cry?  What is the purpose?  Why do some people cry and it appears that others do not cry, ever!  I’m sure that there are scientific answers to the questions, but I’m really not interested in finding out what science has to say about my tears.

My tears surprise me.  They come when I least expect them, and they don’t come when I expect them too, and for that matter, when everyone else expects them too!  And the expectation of tears is yet another interesting aspect of tears.  Tears are often expected and/or anticipated by people around us, and yet when we witness someone crying, when we actually see the tears fall down the face, it makes us feel uncomfortable.  Why? Why do we squirm and look away, and not want them to see that we noticed the tears?

There have been several major events in my life when I fully anticipated to shed some tears, and did not.  I must admit, it left me a bit puzzled and wondering about my true feelings about the event. Perhaps it could be because the events were of a positive nature – weddings, graduations, births.  Shouldn’t I be crying?  Isn’t that what is expected of me?

So it would seem to me that tears are an expression of a feeling.  I would like to think that even though I didn’t have tears, I did have feelings about the event.   And I do! The feelings are just portrayed in a different manner, another expression.   A GREAT BIG SMILE!!

I don’t know.  I guess I might be the kind of person who saves my tears for the sad moments. I know that they will come then.  I’ve had enough of those experiences to account for that. Or, maybe I will be surprised yet again.