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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Live For Now, Not Then

“It is by no means an irrational fancy that, in a future existence, we shall look upon what we think our present existence, as a dream.”  ― Edgar Allan Poe

We are often told that we are to live in the "now," to put behind us our past and never look back.  Heck, that type of thinking even has Biblical precedent - Lot's wife took a look back and turned to a pillar of salt, the Apostle Paul write sin Philippians 3, "Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." In essence, we just keep on trucking, move ever forward and basically give no thought to our past.

Frankly, I don't think those passages, those axioms can be by taken autonomously.  We just forget that which we experienced yesterday?  There has to be more, right?

We are unquestionably the sum total of our experiences.  Every little moment of joy, every twinge of pain and discontent While those experiences may not define our personality or paint us into a corner wherein there is no hope for the future, it's intellectually dishonest to think that without looking back once in a while, we can learn necessary life lessons.  It's exhausting to hear people say how we can't "live in the past," but I'll be honest...I get it.  We live in the here and now, we exist in the here and now and unlike the Creator, we are confined by time and space.  It's who we are.  So, how about something different?

1.  We look back at our past to see the mistakes we have made, and those mistakes often remind us of our fallibility.

2.  Sometimes, looking back and moments of joy, remind us what joy looks, tastes, and feels like again.  We often need that reminder.

3.  We look back to remember what we have forgotten.  I've lost whole blocks of my memory from the past and it's frustrating as hell.  I look back at times to try and fill in the gaps, to cross that bridge from curiosity to knowledge.  Sometimes, I have to trudge through muddy waters to get there and it's worth it, I tell you.

4.  Shut out the condemning voices - including our own.  "Therefore there is now no condemnation," (Romans 8) is a reality, but only so if we apprehend it and apply it to ourselves first. The voices of condemnation are all around us - there will be those who are hell bent on your destruction, your voice just has to be louder than theirs.  Maybe we just learn a new language and speak that language to minds...

5.  Acceptance.  Just accept the fact that there are some seriously jacked up things in your past and own them.  I've made a mountain of them and yes, I own those bitches.  There are many other mountains of bullshit out there, but this one is all mine.  When you own it, you control it rather than it controlling you.

What we learn from our previous mistakes is really up to us.  We can allow it to change the very core of our being or we can look at it for what it is - a learning opportunity.  I confess that I have not apprehended this truth myself.  I still hold a great deal of anger as a result of my youth, but the progress has been made that I know without hesitation that the past cannot own me.  It has only the control over me which I choose to give it.

We live for now, yes, but it doesn't hurt one damned bit to remember the joys and pain of the past - embrace that which is good, discard that which is bad.

I don't know.  I could be wrong, but I seriously doubt it.