I know so many of you are looking for answers to big questions you have about how to do this thing called life. I know you, like me, are seeking a place where you can function in everyday existence without crumpling on the floor in pain, without fighting the voices in your head that tell you how worthless you are, without wrestling with shame and punching it in the face, only to have it hobble you, kick you in the back of the knees whilst you attempt to complete some task or go some place you need to be.
The last few days have been a storm of shadows and thunder for me, my friends. As we prepare to leave the farm we’ve been care-taking for the past six months, perhaps not to return, without any plans for the future and without any more physical or financial security than we had a year ago, I’ve been stumbling about emotionally, boxed in the ears constantly by those voices which affirm all my worst fears. We have nothing. We are headed nowhere. We are insane. Living a life of trust in God and the goodness of people is a recipe for failure, or worse, for disaster. All those things the bullies of my past say to me are true. And anyway, God and the goodness of people is a ruse, a myth and a lie, right?
And with my face pressed into the dirt by the bullies of history, I look through my tears at the world and all the oppression and violence and selfishness and think, that could be true. Say it! Cry the bullies of history. See how powerless you are? Say it, and crawl back to that life you had, the one you thought in your arrogance you could escape from. Who do you think you are? What right do you have? This is how things are! This is reality! You have no power here! This is the truth!
Yes, this is what is. This is the truth. But it is not my truth. I do not live in the past. You are the bullies of history, but I do not live in my history. I live here, in the present. And you, bullies of history, do not live here either. I am not looking towards my history to create my future. I am looking to my imagination. I am rescuing my imagination from the bullies of history, and liberating my creativity, freeing my soul. History, you’ve no power here.
Wow. I wish simply casting insults at the captors of my creative heart was enough to make me feel better, feel different. But I ate dirt. My mouth is bruised and my throat is sore. I’m grazed and I hurt right through to my guts. Fighters bleed the same places the fought do.
A life of faith and trust and risk and creativity sounds like its own reward. But your wounds will go wherever you do, until they are healed. Now, heal staying put, or heal on the go, makes no difference. But do not fool yourself into believing staying will keep you safe from hurt, or moving forward will help you leave your hurt behind. We are made to grow, and made to bleed. If we wait until we are all better to evacuate from history, we grow old in the past, consumed by the weight of resignation and regret. Better to move out of history’s neighbourhood while we can.
And you always can.
History is where the voices of our shame live. History is where the bullies of mistake-making reside. They have no new information for us. There is no health or life in their reminders of our failures, or their echoes of the ones who knew better but did not do it. History is no place for us. There is only mourning there, and we’ve lain our flowers and sung our hymns to that self.
It’s not a new day today, not for you or I. I am not painting rainbows and pretending its all different now, just because you chose. But time is stretching out before you, not behind you. We, you and I, stand hand in hand on the path, and we look each other in the eye. And we say, I know, me too. Ready? Ok. Go. History behind us. The path before us. Days of all kinds ahead. Even more like this one, if that’s what it takes. We are doing this. Pain and all, we are doing it.
Love you, and thank you.