turn away from the past

When one door closes, another opens;
but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that
we do not see the one that has opened for us.
– Alexander Graham Bell

I have heard this adage all of my life – when one door closes, another one opens – or an alternative – when God closes a door, He opens a window. I have heard it said from friends, relatives, and characters on television shows. But do I really believe it? Do we, as humans, believe it? I like think so, with a large number of us optimists, or at least hopeful for the future. But I have never heard the rest of the quote by Mr. Bell. And that second part is far more powerful and meaningful than the over-used adage.

We all spend too much time looking back – we look back in regret, in longing for times gone by, in feeling the pain from long-ago wounds, and in the joy that once was ours. Looking back is good – it always pays to see where we’ve come from. The danger is in looking too long, so long that we forget to live for the future or even today. The danger is in looking so longingly at that closed door, as Mr. Bell tells us, that we forget the future.

Of course I have to interject with a Harry Potter reference (for those of you who don’t know, both the Harry Potter books and the movies are extreme favorites of mine and have been read and seen by me multiple times) – in the first book/movie, Harry discovers the Mirror of Erised and he finds he is drawn by its power to show him what he most desires. He spends much of his spare time in front of it, so much so that Dumbledore tells him that it will be moved somewhere else in the castle and not to go looking for it. “This mirror gives us neither wisdom nor truth…” I bring this up because like Harry, we can spend too much time gazing into the past hoping for a different outcome of the now.

The only way to keep from wasting away in front of the Mirror is to purposely turn our face/mind/heart away and set it toward the now and the future because that is where life is and where life is going. Few, if any of us, have a Dumbledore character in our lives; but we do have God and if we chose to reach out to Him, He will reach back and bring us gently along the path of our choosing, using every opportunity to bring us closer to Himself.

Turn away, but turn wisely.

Turn away, and turn with regrets washed away in understanding and love.

Turn away, but turn toward the now and the future.

Turn away, remembering the Love that sustains you Always.

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finding peace in life

If the world is to be healed through human efforts,
I am convinced that it will be by ordinary people…
people whose love for this life is even greater than their fear.
– Joanna Macy

I watched this news program recently about people who are atheists. They were all raised in the church and yet turned away from it to embrace a life without God. These are good, moral people, yet have chosen to not believe in anything greater than themselves, even marginally. They unfortunately have experienced bigotry from not only the public at large but from believers as well.

As I watched this program and listened to these folks talk about the lack of a god for them, I was perplexed and saddened. I have nothing against atheists – or those of any faith – one of the main tenets of my faith is that the God I serve and love and worship is all inclusive and whatever brings peace to your soul and spirit and doesn’t do harm is of God. I figure I’ll let Him sort it all out.

Back to the program I watched – I was saddened to hear that religion had failed them. That perhaps their expectations were such that God was unable to meet them. That perhaps they have a disappointment in all things spiritual hidden deep down inside them. That they have shut off a part of themselves that is a part of God.

I was also perplexed, because as I have written before, I cannot even begin to imagine what life is like with no belief in Something Greater than myself. Or to imagine that humankind is so brilliant and amazing and full of potential that we can solve all the world’s problems on our own. Or that mankind has a deep-seated moral compass that he can follow on his own compass without Outside Help.

If these atheists have found peace in their hearts and lives, then I am glad and I hope they live long and peaceful lives. What comes after life is for their own soul to cope with.

But if there is a smidgen of doubt in their hearts, I pray they give God another chance. Forget man and his religions. Forget feelings. Forget being sensible. Turn to God. Seek God. Find God. Trust God.

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unresolved pain doesn’t go away

When traumas, be they extreme or mild,
are not resolved they leave behind a slew of painful, unprocessed feelings in the unconscious.
These feelings are never content to remain silent and instead clamor for release.
When they express themselves openly and without disguise this activates the healing process.
– Daniel Mackler

Take if from someone who knows – if the painful feelings of trauma are not released willingly, they will come forth of their own volition. If I had to encapsulate the world’s troubles into one pill – it would be this – that all the hatred and anger humankind feels toward each other and ultimately inflicts on each other is the result of unprocessed and unhealed traumas.

I have learned personally that you cannot run away from the pain in your life. I have learned that I may even pack up my life, move 800 miles away from what I thought was the source of the pain, only to turn around and find that same pain having hitched a ride on the moving truck, moved into my new home and job with me. Only when I confronted it and dealt with it was I able to move on.

My uncle never moved on from the pain of World War 2. As a child whenever I went to visit my grandmother and stayed with my aunt (she lived next door) his nighttime screams became commonplace, as did his alcoholism. He was a good man who suffered unspeakable trauma and did what boys are raised to do – keep everything inside and don’t talk about it. What a disservice was done to him and men like him then and now.

If you have pain or trauma, please, do yourself good and talk about it. Even if it is only to God in prayer or a priest in a confessional. If you can’t speak about it aloud, then write it out in a journal. You can always burn the paper later. Write an anonymous blog. Just get the words out. Get the images out of your head. Take crayons and color them out. There is no right or wrong way of ridding yourself of the pain. They don’t even have to make sense. The point is to get them outside your head and heart and body. Only then, will you begin to be rid of it. Only then will you begin to live the life you deserve – one of Peace and Love.

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