Monday, July 20, 2009

Long long ago

Sometimes things that happened oh song long ago linger. No I'm not talking about Herpes. I'm talking about life experiences. Good things linger, I can still remember getting whisker burns from my Grandpa Grover as a little kid which I acted like I hated but secretly loved. Little accomplishments like taking second place in a pine wood derby, learning to ride a bike, getting my first job. These things seem to hide in little pockets of my memory and pop out at different times and bring a smile to my face. The happy little pop up memories are great.

Then there are the other lingerers. This kind are like the guys who sit out on corners drinking from anonymous bottles shrouded in little brown paper bags. There really aren't good times for these lingerers to pop up. Its like when you think you have finally shaken strep throat only to find out that you need to have an entire new anti biotic for another round. It always turns out to be a crappy situation.

I have really come to dislike these negative lingering memories/experiences. In a way they become an albatross and I feel like the ancient mariner. And like a old set of luggage you carry them around for ever. A lot of people, myself included, may not even realize that you have these negative little stowaways out there in your psyche. They can way you down, ruin your day, cause you to start crying for no obvious reason and lead you to believe that you are loosing it. And in some ways you could be.

It is hard for me to even write about it. I really don't like to be whiny. I don't like rehashing bad times. I don't want to glorify old mistakes by reanimating them in my mind and living through them over and over again. These things are like Jason and Michael and Freddy all mixed together, they just keep coming back. Often the issue is something I had no control over when it happened, but now, when it pops up and I do have some measure of control (or should) I let it take over my whole thought process. This can ruin an entire day just by bumming me out. There is a lesson here to be sure. Try not to create any of these lingerers for others. Especially for kids, you never really know how long harsh words, broken promises, or shattered dreams will stay with a person.

Then there are those lingerers who I, in a sense, invited over and just won't leave. The mistakes made in life big or small that try as you will to move on from and forget won't go away. My sainted mother once told me of an object lesson she had in seminary where the teacher illustrated the lasting effects of sin by hammering nails into a 2 x 4. When through repentance the nails are taken out, the hole created by driving the nails into the board still remain. In my life I have made stupid decisions, I have not given my best effort, or have chickened out of doing things that could have turned out well. These are things I still regret. I sometimes feel like Seth in Fablehaven: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary when he states that his past mistakes keep limiting his future opportunities. I still think if only I would have paid more attention in school, if only I would have been more kind to this person, if only I had chosen to be more Christlike at that point of my life. I think the name of half of the malingerers is "if only".

There is wisdom in the saying "live your life so you have no regrets." I don't know if this is truly possible, but I would challenge you to try. Control the things that you can, and don't let yourself be controlled by those things outside of your control. Good luck, and watch out for stowaways.


Tara said...

Glad to see you are at it again. You had me at Herpes.

Well, you know my Dad will dispute the nail in the wood story. He says that when The Atonement is truly applied to sin, it is as if there were no holes at all. I'm not sure if you disagree or agree, but I'm sure you have an opinion on it, and I'd love to hear what what it is.

I am not one who really gets too hung up on the past or really regrets things. So, it is interesting for me to hear people talk like this. Wes does this alot, and he is often saying if only I would have gotten better grades in high school...It kills me! So what you didn't do great in high school? Majority of us don't, but it made you the man I love and you do so much better now. I just think things really do happen for a reason, and just move on and learn from it all. Guess I shoud go tell him this, for the 100th time, I bet he can't wait to hear.

Is it possible to regret regretting something for too long?

Eliza said...

I think the holes in the board are not from the Savior because he does clear the sin away but the holes are the lasting effects on others who may have been hurt or affected by things you did. These things all take time, life is a process, a learning and growing process and it is about how we take these mistakes or bad experiences in our lives and learn from them. And also do we choose to let them ruin the rest of our lives or just let them lay in the past and move forward and make the best of the present and future.

Mich n Dan said...

Well, as always I enjoy your writing and it always provokes my mind into deeper thought. We are human and don't have the ability to forget so things linger, but the Savior does forget. So as far as the holes in the board I personally think that they are there for us but not there for the Savior, if that makes sense. I'm like you and from time to time I let my past mistakes come back and haunt me, I wish I could be more like Tara and just let things go completely. At least we know that we will never make those mistakes ever again, the linger feelings of such regret are proof that we really have repented.

Kindra said...

Vaughn and I have been talking a lot lately about letting go of things in the past (and present) that we have no control over. Its really hard for me. I tend to just rehash it over and over in my mind until I go a bit crazy. Vaughn is better at it (he's better at most things). I kind of agree with Tara that our experiences make us who we are and in most cases thats a good thing. And we cant know pleasure without knowing pain. So in the big picture even our trials (and mistakes) are blessings. Too bad the big picture is so hard to see from down here.

Kris said...

I appreciate everybody's comments. The parable of the board and the nails could be flawed, however I think that the holes or scars or what have you will be there. Look at Christ, He has scars from the cross as a reminder and I think often we will have scars as well. Like Eliza and Mich said I think that as far as Christ is concerned when we truly repent He forgets it, but those scar/holes are there for us.

Vaughn said...

Hey Kris, I actually read this blog before there were any comments but didn't quite know how to respond. Then something weird happened when I read everyone else's comments and I kind of threw up all over two pages of babblings. It was so much that it only seemed logical to just create my own blog. You'll have to check it out to see what I mean:


Neils said...

I thought I might as well jump on the comment band wagon. This is a topic I feel very strongly about even though some of my personal thoughts and feelings may or may not be scripturally founded, but formed through my own experiences. People that know me closely know that I have made done extremely dumb mistakes. Well, one day I was alkibg down a small street and just like you said one of my lingerers came back to haunt me. As I continued to think about it I honestly couldn't remember if it had happened to me or I has heard about it. Of course during that time I was at a spiritual high, but it for me it was a glimpse at the true power of crimson to white as snow really means. I try to cling to that as best I can. Oh, and as far as things of the past affecting you're future that's enevitable for we reap what we sow, but that doesn't me we can't start sowing today for that which we want to reap in the future. Sorry my first comment was so long.

Aliece said...

I totally understand lingering memories and often rehash things in my own mind realizing how I could have done better. It can drive me nuts and I am learning to move on, if you will. I like the nails in the wood analogy, we need a reminder because we are not perfect but through repentance. Or maybe our wood is just rough and repentance helps sand us to a beautiful smooth surface. And always, thanks for sharing!