Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Of All The Gin Joints in All the World...

As part of the ongoing Home Quest 2012, the mortgage broker keeps asking for a little information more. Gone are the days of wild figures and limited paperwork: now, everything is to be triple checked and cross referenced. Yesterday's request: the 2009 tax returns and documentation relating to the sale of our house in Old Home.

In digging through the documents and trying to find anything relating to the sale which accompanied our move to New Home, I suddenly found myself awash in a sea of depression and regret. Every bad memory around the house, every failure I ever managed to do - not only in regard to the house and The Firm but elsewhere in my life - came bubbling to top, reflecting the paperwork that was scattered across the bed as I continued to search for documents.

The past, it seems, never really goes away.

But upon later reflection (mostly at night, after a low day) I realized that saying is only partially right. While it is true that the past never goes away and is therefore available to rise up when we least expect it, it is not true to say that the past has power. The past, in fact, is powerless.

The past can do nothing to me without my acknowledgement and acceptance. It's like the video or DVD we keep next to the TV: I can replay it, but it is only a record of what has happened, not the event itself. Any power it has to harm, any strength it has to distress, comes only from my willingness to grant it, the same way I become concerned for actors of whom I know nothing and have no relation except through the power of acting.

But in one way the past does have power, if we choose to use it: the power to learn.

The past is a learning center of our lives where, like the aforementioned DVD, we can reflect and review the events of our lives - what worked, what didn't - without the risk of trying out something "new" in our current life state. In truth, most of what we face now we have faced in the past; we need only review our lives to see where it happened, what we did, and how it came out.

(A small plug here for the importance of History, both for our education system and as a personal source of learning. Just as we have probably done it before and failed to learn, so have other individuals and other civilizations).

So yes, of all the gin joints in all the world, my past wandered in yesterday. Fortunately, after freaking out about it and being a bit depressed, I invited him up to the bar for a drink. It seems, after asking, he has a few stories to share with me...

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