Why Bother Investigating Our Past?
In early November of this year, my book, A Heart’s Journey to Forgiveness, will be released. Like delivering my first child, I am nervous and excited at the same time.
With the book release, I have opportunities to give interviews, something I’ve never done before. But as of last Friday, I now have one under my belt.
Thankfully, because the questions were sent to me ahead of time, I did not have to answer any one of them off the cuff. Instead, I had the time to ruminate on them. One of the questions was, “As the sixth child among seven, your sister said “you were born into chaos.” Why did you want to write about your chaotic family life and upbringing?”
The short answer was, I had to.
The Power of the Past
The long answer to that particular question was that my body and my brain had ingested the trauma of my father’s suicide and the story replayed itself over and over and over. Without listening to that voice from the past, I never would have been able to unhook myself from the powerful effects of my past. The experience of my father’s suicide, along with my earlier attempts to ignore its ramifications in my life, shaped my emotions, perspectives and behaviors. Frankly, I did not like who I’d become. Anger and discontentment dominated me. I was very unhappy with who I’d turned out to be.
The past can be a difficult thing for any of us to unearth, yet without investigating our inward turmoil, the negative force of that turmoil holds us hostage. We’ve all lived through tragic circumstances. Inevitably, the event leaves a mark on us. As kids, we don’t have the tools to unpack and analyze what happened. Instead, we only have the resolve to survive.
For most of us, it’s not until we reach adulthood that we get the chance to look back at those sad, defining moments and consider their impact on our present lives. While the past is impossible to eliminate, it is not impossible to evaluate.
Why bother to investigate our past? Exploring the past sheds light on the present, and empowers us to shape better moments.