The Way We Were…The Way We Are

14 Nov

Some of my friends carry very heavy loads, things that are almost unbearable.  A sudden sickness that turns into a constant and long term battle; a financial reversal that shakes all securities; a loss that cripples the emotions and drains what little energy is available.  You have friends like that, too.

Someone said to me once, through tears and anguish, “if I could only go back in time.  If it could only be the way it used to be.”  I’ve never met anyone who has those options, but too many of us live in the deadening grip of that wishful fantasy.  The tight grip of “if only I could be the way I used to be” punishes us, distracts us from living, and causes us to wake up in the morning still longing for what used to be, still hoping for some reversal of reality, and still captive to fear or remorse or regret.

And, saddest of all, The Grip blinds us to the wonder of life still in our midst and still trying to get our attention.

My response to my friend was “you can never be what you were, but you don’t have to be what you are.”  There is yet a choice, and that the Sacred Word to “choose life.”  Love over despair.  Now over then.  This moment with all its potential over that moment with all its pain.

I wish I had a magic wand to give my friend or a pill that might erase yesterday and shine healing light on today.   I don’t, but I know it’s true.  You can never be what you were…that’s gone.  But you don’t have to be what you are…the victim of yesterday.  Choose life.


One Response to “The Way We Were…The Way We Are”

  1. Eric Carr November 15, 2013 at 3:42 am #

    At the Loft Film Festival there was a documentary short called “The Lady in Number Six” (I think), and it told the tale of a 109-year-old pianist who delighted her neighbors with classical music every day. After a few minutes the story took a sudden turn as we learned that she is, in fact, the world’s oldest Holocaust survivor. She survived Auschwitz because of her talent with the piano, and looking back on it, despite all the terror, hunger, loss, and pain, including the murder of everyone else in her family, she was grateful for the experience because it taught her to savor life more fully. She actually credited her horrific experience with her longevity. Then they interviewed her two best friends, who were also Holocaust survivors who now thanked God for the experience, saying that it ultimately taught them how to live, love, and learn. One would think that of all people, they would want to change the past, but instead all three of them were grateful for having endured it. What a lesson. What a perspective.

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