I haven’t written anything in the last week and a half. I was otherwise engaged in efforts to maintain my sanity. It was one of those weeks where everything was going along alright, nothing too difficult but I quickly found myself in a situation. It was like I was walking through a ravine and suddenly heard the noise of trouble headed directly towards me. Like a big round boulder made of many stones, it was on a direct collision course for me..
There would be no running from this trouble. There would be no negotiating to keep it at bay. There was no way to avoid the trouble. I was forced to stand my ground and let it come at me.
I am no fool, however; I did not waste any time on denial or useless bargaining or escape attempts. Instead I hit the slightly concave and dirty ground so that the large boulder of many stones would pass directly over me but not smash into me. This boulder did not hit me but rolled just past me, then broke into pieces instead to block any possibility of my doubling back to escape.
Some may have at that point felt that the worst was over, the coast was clear. Some may have popped their head up to survey the damage. Not me. I knew without a doubt there was more to follow. Bad things come in threes. I kept my head down and waited for the thunderous sound of two more boulders made of many stones to roll towards my location. Each did exactly that and each subsequently smashed into the remains of the other boulder leaving me covered in stones. I found myself buried in a heap of heavy stones.
In this situation, there were many options available:
- I could give up, sit down and wait to die amid the stones
- I could pick up a stone and set it aside then repeat this until I had moved enough stones out of the way to form a clearing through which I could crawl to safety.
The thing is, I’ve seen these stones before. I recognized each and every one. These stones that trapped me were the mistakes of my past. Each stone is a poorly made decision, an unfortunate or unwanted consequence of a poor decision, reminders of what I could have had, reminders of times when I have wronged those I care about, reminders of when I have let everyone down including myself, reminders of failures – each stone was one of these. Each stone by itself was meaningless and could easily be ignored – but the past is not so easily dealt with. When you get enough stones together, problems begin to form and appear in your present life.
Problems are fine. We all have them. The key is that when these problems show up in life, we either deal with them or push them aside to return another day with even more stones. Hiding the stones of your past simply does not work. They are too numerous and too big a part of your life to truly hide forever.
In my case, I stayed on the ground for a while, allowing the dust to settle before taking action. I ruminated on each and every stone and why it was there, how it was made and how it had affected me back then. I had only one option of what to do. I could not make the stones vanish. These memories and reminders are always going to exist no matter how hard I pretend they do not.
So, I slowly and carefully picked up each stone and moved it to a particular spot. I stacked the stones closely and in an organized and stable manner. I wasn’t just making a clearing, I was building a rock solid foundation upon which I would stand and the rest of my life would continue. In this way, I was accepting the mistakes of my past as being a part of me and a part of my future. I was using the lessons from the stones of my past to build a healthy and steady foundation for the house of me.
That is the way an emotionally healthy and successful individual handles problems and prepares to handle any future problems. Only a strong foundation, a knowledge and understanding of the past, will provide the strength I need for any future situations.