THE LITTLE CHILD I AM TODAY
will always be within me,
sending out feelings
into my "grownup" mind.
Time and experience may seem
to bury him,
but the child will be there.
If I am now secure, feel loved,
and little hurts are healed,
in later years I'll feel down deep,
not cries of fear and pain,
but rather...songs.
from Listen to my Feelings

by Ruth Reardon

I have a dear friend who's having a rough time these days. She has hurts from her childhood and youth, as well as hurts from her adult life that she is reliving every day. She is so caught up in what was that she can't see what is. I think we've all had times in our lives when this was true so that we can't see today.

We all have hurts from our childhood; those painful memories that immediately take us back to the time and place the incident occurred. In a heartbeat we feel exactly what we felt all those years ago and know that we will never be the same again. There is something that is within each one of us that we've never truly healed. If we were lucky, we had parents or adults around us who helped to heal those wounds. They couldn't erase them, but they helped us put an emotional band-aid on it and we found a way to get past it.

But there are those of us who weren't as fortunate. They didn't have parents or adults who helped them heal their hurts and so they carried them forward, day after day, not only reliving the initial hurt but compounding it by adding to it each and every day. And their hurts became bigger and bigger until they no longer could be covered with a band-aid, they had to be carried in a suitcase, which also became bigger and bigger.

My friend has been carrying this trunk, actually several trunks, with her for years now, and the sad thing is, her trunks have now infected her children and her grandchildren, just as her mother's and grandmother's before her. She is aware that this has happened but she has no idea what to do about it. I have encouraged her to seek out a good counselor and begin the hard work of healing that little child within her. She carries so much guilt about her life, that she is physically ill and unable to cope with any aspect of it. She doesn't manage her money, her children are carrying the same issues forward into their own lives, her marriage is on the brink of disaster, and she doesn't believe she can carry on.

Well, she's right, she can't. Not like this. I am proud of her for finding a good therapist that is helping her address the issues that have always plagued her. She is working to build her body so that it is stronger and not so dependent on the excess food and toxins she has put in it. She is taking steps to make it better and I'm so proud of her. It is not easy. She is having to face demons that have plagued her for the better part of her life, but she is doing it-baby step by baby step. And as she works on herself, those around her will be forced to change as well.

We ALL have our demons. We all have our regrets. We all are human and therefore we will continue to make mistakes, but the thing that I've been trying to get her to see and understand is that we can't undo what has been done. So much of her time is spent on wishing away the past. "If only this had been different. If only this had never happened. If I had done this differently."

If only...... Those are two very big words, aren't they? And so many of us get caught up in them. It can be easy to do. We make a mistake...a BIG one and we're immediately sorry for it. We get up the next morning, and we're still bothered by it. And each day for the next week, we still feel badly about what we did. We've asked forgiveness from the person we wronged and they have given it, but we can't seem to forgive ourselves. So we carry that bag around with us and it starts to infest everything we do. Then we start to worry about doing it again, so not only is it in our baggage that we're dragging along behind us, it is now in our future, sitting out there somewhere on the horizon. It is surrounding us. We can't enjoy today, because we're so wrapped up in our yesterdays and our tomorrows. Our todays are all used up before we even notice.

The reality is all we really have is today. We can't undo what has been done. It's done. It's over, if you allow it to be. What has happened has happened and no amount of wishing or hoping or praying will undo it. What you can do is to forgive yourself and learn from it. There is a lesson there to be learned. Allow the lesson to be shown to you when the time is right. If you dwell on it and try to force it, you won't be able to see it, but if you just let it come, it will and you will know what it is you were supposed to learn from this "bad" thing you did.

Don't move too far forward so that you begin worrying over tomorrow. You know, it's just like Garth Brooks says, "If Tomorrow Never Comes." Well, it just might not. The reality is we have NO control over our tomorrows. We can worry and fret and stew all we want, but it won't change anything about tomorrow. It is all going to happen just as it will and unless you are God, all that worry will be for naught. You will have spent all that time and energy on something that is absolutely worthless.

You see, the only time we have is this moment, today, right now, and in this moment is the only control you or I have. We have choices right now. We can choose to make this moment a good one or we can choose to make it bad. We can choose to embrace the love in this moment or we can choose to embrace the dark. For some of us who have lived a lifetime without recognizing and understanding this, it can be a difficult shift and you may require some professional assistance to make it happen. But it is possible, you can do it and what better time to start than Easter? After all, isn't that what Jesus suffered and died on the cross for? For you and me, for all our sins. He did this so that we would not have to carry our own crosses into hell for all eternity. We can leave our baggage at His door and He will gladly "throw it out" for you and for me.

For some of us, this is difficult to believe. After all, we have made so many big mistakes in our lives that we have come to believe that we can never be forgiven. Well, we have been--you have been--so it's time to forgive ourselves and start living in the todays, the NOW moments, of our lives. None of us can be assured that we will have more than this, so why take up your todays, your now moments, with anything that isn't full of love and hope?

"If Tomorrow Never Comes" we will be satisfied that our todays were spent on all good things. Not the worthless, earth-bound things of this life, but of love, hope, peace, faith and joy. They carry us through all our todays and into our tomorrows.

Author's Bio: 

Ereline has served in the educational field for over 35 years. She has worked as a public school teacher, a christian education director, an early childhood professional, and a program director. She has also worked with collaborative teams promoting child abuse awareness and has helped to found child protective programs in association with the NCAC.

Working with people of all ages, Ereline has developed a communication strategy to relate with and to the participants making the lessons she teaches down-to-earth and easily understandable by all.

Ereline's blog, Simply Faith (erelinessimplyfaith.blogspot.com) provides daily lessons grounded in faith, hope, and love.