Remembering

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland, (Isaiah 43:18-19).

This is a tough bit of scripture to swallow, forgetting the former things. I cannot imagine how tough it is for those who were directly touched by the terrorist attacks on this date, eleven years ago.

I remember being in my car, driving to Bridgeport on I-79, when I heard the news broadcast about the twin towers. My first thought was of my sister working at the FBI, wondering if it would be a target since we are close to New York and D.C.

Kyla was a little over a year old. Hard to believe how much time has gone by, how quickly it has passed.

I know that when we remember the past, we usually look to it with regret, whether it is a pleasant memory or a painful one. If pleasant, we wish we could go back and relive it, be in that moment again, slow down and enjoy it more, absorbing all that we can before it passes. If it is painful, we wish we could do it over, make wiser choices, listen more, be less reactive.

I did not lose anyone close to me on September 11th. But I know what it is like to spend time looking backwards, dwelling on the past, wishing it were different or to be back in that happy place that is different than my here-and-now. It is a box.

USA Today has an article in today's paper that talks woefully of forgetting what 9/11 did to us and to those who lost something. It tells the story as though moving forward is bad. But the Bible tells us that we need to move forward, that God is doing something new, something refreshing. And we won't realize it--cannot perceive what God is planning--if we are dwelling on the past.

While it is good to honor someone's memory (like I have done for my dad), it is not healthy to dwell regretfully on something that cannot be changed.

I have had such a wonderful year with my husband, such a sense of joy, by giving over -- daily -- my desire to rewrite the past, to make things better because guilt from past failures haunted me. The freedom that comes from looking forward, and trusting the One who sees and knows all, defies words.

It is my prayer that anyone reading this who struggles with painful memories will reach out and take the strong, firm hand of the Savior and make today their first step toward a new thing.

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