Events and circumstances, pasts and the possibilities of yet seen futures, shape us into who we are in any given moment. All of our experiences help to shade the colors in our world, but not all of our moments can be bright strokes of joy and happiness, sometimes life dips our world into the darker tones of pain and even suffering. It is all essential, a complete necessity.
We cannot truly bask in the warmth of the good without knowing the icy chill of the bad, a balance of both is needed to really feel life beaming at its fullest.
Balance, something everyone talks about, but rarely ever found completely. If we are consistently changing and learning, which we must do if we intend to grow, then the state of our balance is fluctuating, always tittering between extremes – what we require to maintain our balance shifts constantly. Relationships, work, hobbies, children, errands, arguments, outings, friendships, all of the pieces of our lives play a role in the sway of balance in our lives. We are challenged to find stability even with thoughts of the future, dealings with the past, and the very present we are in now tugging us in one way or the other.
The past can be an interesting source of instability. One would think since we are alive in this moment that we have overcome our past dealings to arrive here and now, but sometimes that just isn’t the case. Sometimes, we have just pushed forward through our wounds leaving them completely open to infect our futures without even knowing we’d done such a thing or worse, we knew and felt the pain, but chose to place an insufficient bandage over the damage, hoping it would heal by itself. Past suffering can manifest itself in many ways in our present, knocking our balance off without us realizing where the anguish comes from. Maybe you struggle to express your feelings to a loved one, or you can’t bring yourself to stand up to your boss, or even feel silly for wanting to wear that new dress you just bought that’s cut a little short – exploring your past may open up your future. Facing trauma you pushed away or never considered as painful or damaging can help to tip the scale in a positive way.
I never considered my childhood relationship with my father to be something that would affect me as a grown woman. I had dealt with it already, right? Survived the arguments, battled through the putdowns, cowered just enough that I could crawl my way towards the “right path” without upsetting anyone. I was a “good girl.” It took me years to face the simple fact that no, I had not “dealt with it” at all. I had placed a band aid right over my aching soul, but eventually it dawned on me that maybe I wasn’t really moving towards my own dreams and goals, not because I didn’t want to, but I was afraid to. Afraid because of how my dreams and goals were treated in the past, treated like they were insignificant, nothing. Accepting I was still bleeding was the first step towards finding that beaming light of life, that balancing of the good when I had clung to bad for so long without even consciously admitting it. The next steps were just as difficult as the first, forgiveness. I needed to forgive myself and forgive him. Forgive the child who never spoke up when he threatened me. Forgive myself for the shame I felt at his cutting words. Forgive the man who silenced me. Forgive the father who broke down his daughter. Forgive the oppressor who stopped a dreamer. I needed the soft, warm embrace of forgiveness. I need to settle in its arms and know that I was safe, I was secure, and I could open my heart again. Through my journey with forgiveness, I found that light that had been dimmed. It led me to finally walking out of the hospital the day I decided I couldn’t be a nurse anymore. It led me to realize I was never meant to be a nurse forever, I was meant to heal, to help in other ways. It led me to you. And for all the pain and sorrow, the struggles and the hidden wounds I bore way below the surface for so long, I am thankful. Because without them, without knowing the pain I wouldn’t be thoroughly enjoying the beautiful life that has found me now.
Think about challenges facing you right now. Are you being held back, unbalanced, by something that happened to you in the past? Have you not acknowledged something that is gnawing at your soul? Maybe, opening your past can lead you to your future. And if you do, I have a feeling you’ll find your balance soon enough.