This weekend, I went through old photos and family videos with my parents, my sister, and my husband. It was a reminder of who I was. Somehow, after all these years, I’d forgotten. I’d forgotten the good as well as the bad. Sometimes our memory fails us and we fill in the gaps with what we think we lived through. And so often, we are wrong. It’s the documented photos that bring truth to the light.
Seeing myself as a baby and then a small girl growing up fast, I am proud of who I was. I was so blessed. I still am. I think you need to know what you used to be in order to know what you are. You have to come face-to-face with your past to be able to meet up with present day. If you can’t go beyond the things of your past, you are doomed to live there the rest of your days. But when you get too focused on the future, you lose both the present and your past.
I have rediscovered my past. It was full of adventure and life crammed up next to troubles and vicious tears. As we were watching one video, I heard my grandpa’s voice. He was running the camera. A flood of tears erupted out of me. He died several years ago and I had forgotten the sound of his voice. But when I heard it again, I felt like it had been there all along. My grandpa has never left me, even if I forget things about him as the years move on. Human nature is to forget. Sometimes it eases the pain. But it’s always better to remember. To remember and cherish or to remember and learn.
I’ve been living in neither the past nor the present. But no one can live in the future. That’s why it’s the future. It hasn’t happened yet. And by definition, we’ll never live in the future because when we get there, it becomes the present. So I haven’t been living at all.
I used to be forgetful of my past. I used to walk away from the pain, burying the good along with all that bad I so desperately wanted to get rid of. I used to be shamed by what little material wealth I have now. I used to be completely obsessed with hopes for the future. But that’s just what I used to be.