Sometimes unexpected twists and turns in our life journey cause us to take the time to revisit some of the pages of our past. This seems to be happening for me and others in my family this year and has given me cause to reflect on what it means to return to our history and take another look at past events with older, perhaps wiser eyes.
I believe this kind of reflection happens to many as life scenarios unfold that call us to return to other times and events. If the events being revisited were especially difficult, painful and required a commitment to our healing processes, then revisiting them again much later may give a new perspective. As you are going through the initial process of dealing with past mental, physical or emotional pain it can be very traumatic. Over time the emotions are released, the wounds healed and the passage of time gives the opportunity to forgive and find greater peace about the past. Even so, if called to revisit a particular time in our life journey it may give us a measuring stick for how well we have healed. If we can immerse ourselves in another time and place and be free of the old wounded emotions, then our healing work has been successful. And it is even more indicative of our healing if we can speak of difficult life events and find something to be grateful that these particular events were part of our journey.
It can be a valuable exercise to go back and see if there is any residue left that needs attention, any wisdom learned and not acknowledged, any gifts not appreciated, any saving grace not noticed, etc. There may be gems left unharvested and bits of old baggage that may still need our attention even decades after we left a particular part of our life journey behind. Going back to take another look may be filled with the opportunity to know more and find value in having driven over such rough roads once in our life and having lived to tell the tale.
Even if we are not called to revisit difficulties, it is important to reflect and remember our past to better know who we are today. I recently purchased a photo quality scanner and am in the process of a very large family photo scanning project. As I am finding and scanning these old photos I am taken to these earlier times when I was much younger and so was my family. It is rich and rewarding to remember the fun times, the relationships that bring meaning, the people you love and the times you shared together.
If life experiences or events call you to look back into your past, do so with the goal of finding the richness in it that you can be grateful for – for the people who cared, for the events that shaped and strengthened you, for the measuring from past to present that shows you how far you have come in your life journey. Look for the myriad of people, events, experiences that weave together to make the beautiful tapestry of our lives and find the blessings in all parts of the journey. In finding the value, meaning and gifts in our past we can bring these same attitudes into our present and on into the future.