15 March 2015

Mad at Life's Histories

Last night, the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML and I gathered with other members of our church for an evening of worship and teaching. For whatever reason, and I lay that fault squarely at my own feet, I wasn't agog with excitement about this meeting. The day had been extraordinarily dreary (yeah, thanks for that Mother Nature, you never-ending shehag) and after this endless winter, perhaps one.more.day of dreary was wearing me down. So the thought of a couple hours of meetings wasn't exactly enticing.

Now, as the meeting opened, I was delighted to see the music on the program. We are fortunate to have a nationally known mezzo soprano, Tamara Mumford, in our congregation and she was a soloist at the meeting. Accompanied by a pianist and a cellist (that's about as crazy instrumental we get musically in our services, unless you count some of the organs with the fancy pants pre-recorded 'ringing bell' function), she killed it with my favorite arrangement of my favorite hymn. I am amazed by those blessed with incredible musical talent and am grateful for their willingness to share that talent. I reveled in the feelings that came along with the song. Yet, I still found myself getting distracted after that. My mind simply drifted.

It was during that empty-headed drifting when one of the main speakers mentioned 'being mad at life's histories.' That caught my attention and I immediately wished I could push 'rewind' on his full commentary. I was able to surmise that he was relating a story of someone who had been consumed by all the wrongs that had occurred in his/her life and how being mad at the past had made for a very unpleasant present. I've been ruminating over that statement - 'being mad at life's histories' - and what it means ever since.

As I've noted previously, our lives and how we live them are a series of chapters constituting the book of life that is each one of us. Not one of those books and the chapters within is the same. What happens to us in this life shapes those chapters. Thanks to things like forgiveness, we can edit some of the chapters as necessary. We can look back on those chapters and use them as learning touchstones. We should not use them as an albatross around our necks. I think that's why that statement from last night has stuck with me. There's no point in being mad at the past. By dwelling on it, we prevent ourselves from moving forward. We are no longer able to write our futures if we stay stuck on the issues from the past.

That's what is so great about these books that each of us is writing. We are writing them. The voice is yours. I'm not turning my life story over to some ghost writer in a smoky sweat shop in Manila (you think I'm kidding about that - check out how a lot of what you read in your newspaper is strung together now). I want to keep telling my story letting what I've learned in the previous chapters of my life influence my future chapters positively, not drag me down.

These books aren't 'put to bed' until our lives end. Can you imagine the library that awaits us? For a book nerd like me, it's a good thing forever is forever. That's lots of time to read all those stories.

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