Let Go Of Your Past Attachments
Memories are funny things, aren't they?
We play them back in our minds like ever-increasingly edited movies, complete with our own inner commentary, reviews, critiques and ratings.
Some of the home movies in our head are pleasant and get replayed over and again when we want to feel better about ourselves, our choices, our circumstances.
We often leave out some of the dialogue, though, and definitely the second act milieu, the conflicts and difficulties... and skip right to the happy ending where we get to be the hero... find true love... have that incredible day... make it through the maze...
You know what I'm talking about, right?
But there are also memories that we play back from time to time that are sad and unfulfilling, dramas that end poorly, and remind us of our losses, failures, griefs, tragedies and missteps.
In these memories we often do our best to cast ourselves in as good a light as possible, but we tend to fail more than we succeed. These are the memories that haunt us, shame us, leave us feeling knotted up inside.
And sometimes it's like watching someone else's movie, isn't it? You want to shout at the main character to do something different... to not go into that locked room... to walk away from that person... to take that job offer and change their life...
All of the memories---the good, the bad and everything in between--come rushing back to us in those moments. They feel like they happened yesterday.
The poet Brendan Kennelly summed up the feeling they bring like this:
But O my Godhow can it be so nearand yetso long ago?
Throughout his ministry, Jesus exhorted his followers to live differently, and that included the way they approached the past.
Jesus knew that it was easy to let your past define you. He knew that some of us live in shame and regret, which affects the way we view our present and warps the way we envision our future.
Jesus also knew that others of us live in our past because we have come to believe that was the only time when things were right and good for us.
And because we are so rooted in our past, we are unable to be fully present in what Richard Rohr calls "the naked now," nor are we able to step boldly into tomorrow.
If you have been haunted by the memories of your past... If you have been holding on to the past because you believe that you can never be as good as you once were... If you find yourself unable to be present, or to dream...
It's time to live differently. Let go of your attachments to the past. See your memories as they are... simply images, impressions and thoughts about where you have been, and what has shaped you.
They are not you. They don't define you. God has given you a far richer and more fully inclusive identity through Jesus. Claim that. Live into that. Be present and don't be afraid of what comes next. God is here now. God is already there tomorrow.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.