Way down deep in most of us is a hurting, a wounding to heart or soul, self-esteem or sense of self, that has brought us to this moment. It’s caused damage along the way, but also brought us to the knowing, both painful and liberating that we’ve reached the point of no return. It’s time to make a decision that will turn that painful it around, whatever your own special it is.
Remember the owwies of childhood, and your ambivalence about both wishing them gone and wanting to touch them? Change comes if you’re willing to dig deep enough to find and touch your inner sore place. You’ll know it by the way it feels: unresolved and always asking for something, perhaps attention, food, or love.
The source isn’t necessarily something that was done to you. It could have started when you failed to step up and take action or responsibility. It’s almost certainly something for which you have not yet forgiven yourself or another. Omission or commission makes no difference. What you most need to let go of is its hold on you, on how it defines and organizes your story of life.
Confession. During a recent snow-enforced confinement I played Angry Birds (an addictive game of digital slingshot). There’s one bird on reserve (that acts like a neutron bomb) to use when you’ve failed once too many frustrating times at knocking down the targets.
It would be great to have such a ready tool for ourselves, when we’ve gotten stuck doing our emotional homework. Launch the mighty eagle; blow away all your failures and equivocation.
Our inner pharaoh has said Yes/No, Yes/No, Yes/No once too often. Time’s up. It’s time to fling that mighty eagle at yourself.
As silly as it sounds, some of my biblical imagery goes back to the classic 50’s movie, The Ten Commandments. After the last plague, the killing of the firstborn, the pharaoh who’s said Yes/No nine times prior stands holding his beloved son, his face a portrait of anguish, remorse, and regret. Nothing will make that boy alive again.
With luck you won’t need to go through such deep loss to make progress. But the stark and simple clarity that it’s time now to make changes is an important and compelling insight.
You cannot change the past. You can wish it undone, or pretend it was not so. You can’t erase the hurting. But you can transcend it. Can make your future different than your past. Use the energy you spent being angry, or fearing pain will happen again, to make changes, getting out of the narrow places that have confined and identified you for far too long.
The Jews are chased out of Egypt. You have the luxury of choice. To saying Yes to you and to joy.
We’re blessed this year to have this reading come at the transition between old year and new. A time when many of us make pledges about how we want to behave differently. If you make only one resolution, make it to live free of the pain of the past, and to live with greater awareness about what really matters to you in the year to come.