I think there are a few things that follow us through life: our histories (both individual and collective) and our hopes.
I suppose our histories can drag us in either direction– we can remain glued, unmoving toward any certain beginning, because there’s something that must be held on to.
Or those histories can push us toward new adventures, new seasons, new everything unexpected.
And there, hopes take charge, and we are ushered into the newness unashamed, unbroken, unafraid, and untethered to anything but the expectation of all that’s coming.
Hopes remind us of the good things that have been and promise the good that’s ahead.
I have plenty of judgmental bones in my body, but today I look at the people around me and I see a trail following behind them– behind all of us. It’s marked with victories, hardships, givings and takings. Each trail of life is marked with the scars and birth marks of all our humanity.
And if my history can be met with yours for a brief moment, maybe we’ll find that our stories are not so distant from each other’s, after all.
Maybe we’ll find that in finding each other, in listening and bearing weight and burden, we move forward with hope– together.
I have a sweet friend who’s facing her own histories– who’s bravely taking on the long hard pursuit of peace and reconciliation for her own heart and future.
She’s beautiful, and she’s doing something that I’ve needed to do for a while, too, and in her doing so, she gives me hope.
Whatever direction our histories take us in, they shouldn’t be left stagnant, unused. Because they can linger there, the stench tainting everything that could bring us good.
A life unused becomes a life unmoved.
The painful histories, those that leave us in puddles with overturned stomachs and aching bones–
they are to be learned from, taken in and digested for some good outside of the pain. They aren’t to choke us forever.
And those joyous, life-giving histories– they’re to be shared, too, rejoiced in again and again to that joy reproduces itself into our daily hearts.
There’s a little lake here, untouched by demolition or construction, unmanned and unhandled. It’s got ducks and weeds and soft ripples. It reflects the sun and gathers leaves to its shores, where fishes swim and hide beneath their shadows.
There are tall, towering trees here, that pinecones fall stories from to hit the ground and land on a bed of needles and grass.
The canopy creates a magical shelter that the sun pokes his finger through to touch the freckles on our fair-skinned faces.
All are reminders of our ongoing living: the water that’s seen many lives overlap at its shores; the trees that have sheltered many broken hearts; the sun that’s applied his touch to all who pass by.
If we can see each other–ourselves–as they do, the trails behind us gathered and bunched in our arms to be used today as a compass so that hopes can lead us on, then we move forward in a season of newness together.
What histories have you held on to? Uncover them with me, digest and release them, use them. And may our use of them bring us closer in to each other, ourselves, and our hopes.
Let’s be brave, all of us.