People like to say the Past is Past. Isn't that ridiculous? Could anything be further from the truth? People like to say that because they don't know what else to do with the Past, because they want the Past to be finished. They want to put the Past in the chiminea on the patio and light a match to the memories. They think this will make it go away. They think this will take away the pain.
Nothing can take away the Past.
It is ridiculous, but I understand. The Past is such a burden some days, so cumbersome. There are days I wish the Past would go away, especially my Past, especially the Great Wrongs I have committed. The times I hurt people because I was so empty and lost -- I wish that would pass. The truth is that the pain revisits me--the nausea of knowing you have hurt someone. I truly wish that gone forever.
If love never lasts forever, tell me, what's forever for?
Regret maybe? Maybe forever is all about regret. Is remorse the same as regret? Maybe forever is for repentance? What does that even mean?
Repent, Repent! For the Kingdom of God is at hand!!
Yes, yes, the Kingdom is at hand. It is just around the corner. Up the street, maybe, a couple of blocks. Yes, the kingdom is there but it is also here, it is here, it is now, it is past, it is tomorrow, it is inside us.
All of us?
I don't know.
And that repentance thing...is that like, I'm sorry. Or is it like, I'm sorry!!! I'm so sorry!!! I won't do it again, I promise!!!! Forgive me!!!! Forgive me for I have sinned!!! Oh, how I have sinned!!! In the Past. Oh, and Now. Crap, Tomorrow, too. I have sinned Tomorrow, too.
The Past passes us, passes through us, around us, but it is always there--Omnipresent like God. We can no more remove it than we can live without lungs or arteries.
We must accept the Past.
Really? Really? Accept the Past? That is more ridiculous that forgetting it. How do you accept the fact that you were cruel and selfish, whether intentionally or not? How do you accept that people you loved lied to you? Bruised you? Sometimes, it was intentional. Sometimes, they looked at you as if you were that plate waiting to be smashed against the wall. Sometimes, they looked at you as if you were foreign, as if your hearts were not the same. How can you accept that?
It is not possible. It is, in fact, impossible.
I stuffed the Past under the bed, into the closet, into the basement and the attic. Still, I sat in my overstuffed chair and it came to rest on my shoulders, just like the cat, looking for a warm place to rest. I tried to shrug it off, but it kept coming back, bringing shadows of what is yet to come. I sighed, I gave in. I just gave in; it was so persistent, just refused to leave me alone. It wore me down.
All shadows are not dark. Some are shade, comforting shade from a light too intense, too bright, too revealing. I am made grateful, grateful for the shadows, grateful for the Past.
The Past is the piece we have now, all we know of who we are, but it is not All. It is our spirit guide, the shadow dancer who pulls us from dark places, reminds us of what it was like so that maybe, just maybe, we will not go there again. The Past plays flute, sometimes bagpipes. The notes resonate to places inside us we cannot consciously recall. But we possess those places somehow, the notes take us to a Past so long past that it was not even ours. Maybe it is a Past before we existed, Maybe it is all our Past, painful and lovely.
I have to go now. The Past is waiting for me to make coffee.