Lifelines-Exploring Life Issues

Looking Back/Looking Forward
We are in that time of year of resolutions. I have come to believe that resolutions are our attempts to remain hopeful. We resolve to be more than we have been, or to avoid making the same mistakes, or to accomplish some failed task or reach some attainable goal. We look back at our life journeys and learn in order to map out our future paths.

Our resolutions serve as reflective moments to move us beyond the past while we grow towards the future. Most of us have no problem conjuring up the affirming moments, but we don't want to remember or be reminded of our wounds. Oftentimes, clients tell me that they wish they could just forget about their past wounding events. From their perspective, dwelling on things from the past does not seem to serve any purpose. While I understand their desire to eliminate the pain and suffering associated with those memories and experiences, I wonder how we can hope and expect to fully embrace the here and now and what is to come if our lives are full of Band-Aids. How can we begin to heal if we do not examine what has occurred, understand it, and discern how these experiences have informed us? If we are willing to rewrite some of our scripts, rip the Band-Aids off or pull them off slowly, then, perhaps, we can take our life events and grow from them instead of being hindered by them.

So, as stated by Jerry Haas, director of the Academy for Spiritual Formation at The Upper Room: "Listen to your life, the stresses and the strains, the joys and the sorrows. Listen to your heart, its deepest longings and fervent prayers. Listen to God, inviting you into a deeper relationship of love and delight, mystery and missions, joy, and service." When we have a sense that Someone is traveling with us through the pain-soaked memories offering some salve of empathy and compassion in the healing process, then the wounds seem to hurt a little less and the joys seem to mean a little more.

The Rev. Lenn Harris Milam
Samaritan Counseling Center

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