I had a passing impression today… Does that ever happen to you? Something comes and flits around your mind like a charming little hummingbird. It’s a sense…a feeling…a lovely thought… Light and lilting, it flutters around your face, and you are filled with joy and a little wonder. This happened today.
I was interacting with Grayson, my eight-year-old son, while working in the kitchen, and I felt completely joyful and at ease. I wasn’t irritable and anxious for him to stop talking to me. (Side note: he is in a phase where he almost never stops talking!) I wasn’t compassed with vague thoughts of all that I needed – but didn’t want – to do today. I was just enjoying my sweet boy, while moseying about, getting dinner started.
I could see the effect that my more pleasant demeanor was having on him, too. He was a little less uncertain, more connected at the eyes, and smiling and enjoying himself, as well. This whole exchange took mere moments, but it was revelatory.
What exacted this change, today? Oh, I have my facts and theories. I’ll go into that another day. 😊 What’s important to explore right now is the thought I had right after this poignant moment: why haven’t I been like this more often? I could have been a better mother all of this time.
Wait. Hold up. This stupid, unwelcome thought potentially had the power to zap the beauty of the moment. But then, there was that impression I was talking about. The impression was simply that what kind of mother that I used to be prior to this very moment, doesn’t actually matter at all. There was a lush glory in realizing that I truly can be new and different starting right now.
I have been reading and meditating on the third and fourth chapters of Philippians. Such encouragement, here! One of my favorite portions of scripture is found in Philippians 3:13b-14a: “I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on…” Doesn’t that just make you want to shout?! It does me! It doesn’t just say something about “reframing” our past mistakes in light of the mercy of Christ…No, it says to FORGET THE PAST! Fuhgettaboutit! And not only that gold nugget, it also says to LOOK FORWARD! Paul’s message here, is clear: stop turning around because you’re not going that direction!
This might have a whimsical, and too-good-to-be-true feel to it if it didn’t stand up to life experiences, but it does. Memories grow dim and easier to forget if – and here’s the key – we let go of them. There is so much in the word of God about freshness, newness, and new beginnings, that I’m convinced that God is a “right now,” and “in this moment” God. You want to be more positive and stop living a negative life? Great, start right now. You want to be a less-distracted and more attentive parent? Perfect! Get to it. Your desire is to prioritize the things of God in your life? I love it! That’s who you are, starting right now!
If God is that way, then why do we have such a hard time allowing ourselves to create a different reality? It’s because we are not this way, naturally, at least most of us are not. Most of us have a ponderous need to do the excruciating work of reliving the ways in which we’ve not been who we’ve wanted to be; perhaps we feel this our due penance until we…what? Deserve to move on? Deserve to be something different?
If there’s any unfortunate theme of my life, it’s one of guilt. I am always the one thinking that there needs to be something hard about becoming better. And yes, there’s work to do and habits to break. It’s true. BUT – new mindsets, new attitudes, new interactions, new ways of being…why can’t we just start it? Even if it’s not perfect? Even if we lapse back? Why can’t I just START thinking of myself as a present and positive parent TODAY, if that truly is my desire? (And God knows it is!)
If you want the reality of this, do an experiment. Think back over your life, beginning with childhood. Do you remember every detail of every moment? Of course not. But, unless it’s a standout, special memory, or a really bad one, you don’t recall day-to-day moments and happenings. Neither do I. And so, my point: you already are forgetting the past. So let it go. Stop holding on and petting the ugly things that you regret, which is keeping them very much in the present. Read that again. Repent over it if you need to, then LET IT GO!
I Don’t Remember Back There
inspired by Philippians 3:13-14
I Don’t Remember Back There
– inspired by Philippians 3:13-14-
I don’t remember Back There, when things were hard and I was mean
I don’t remember Back There, when foes outnumbered friends, or so it seemed
I don’t remember Back There, entrenched in darkness, consumed with self
I don’t remember Back There, empty of joy, futility felt
Today is new and fresh and green! Life springs forth, glorious Thing!
Pressing on, starting anew; doing the things I was meant to do
Perfection’s elusive, stay out of my head!
I’m forgetting Back There, for Back There is dead!