The Past has Passed

the past has passed
it seems obvious, yet
living the reality of this
walking in the truth of this?
that’s much, much harder

i am sure i am not alone
in this form of contemplation

this reflection,
or rather, this

the recollection of
events and senses and
conversations and emotions

Freud refers to these
traumatic reenactments as
“the compulsion to repeat”

the notion is that when we
reenact and repeat the past
(either internally or externally
in ourselves or outside our self)
that this is an unconscious
attempt to gain control over a
past trauma, a painful situation,
one which is unresolved in us

there is no evidence for this theory
but i wonder whether this is why
we can fall into rabbit holes of
reminiscing, of romanticising pasts
of journeying down memory lane

when we tap into these thoughts
we do so beyond the mental realm
it enters a physiological state
of a lived experience being re-lived

often, when we seek to
remember and recollect
on the times that hold
this certain permanence
in our timelines, forever
engraved in our past
it is often perhaps that:

we seek, because
we have not seen

we have not seen
healing or departure
from these memories

or we do not wish
to remove ourselves
or to forget the trauma
of these memories

maybe they’re not traumatic,
maybe they’re fond memories
we store like special treasure
in our hearts and minds that we
can tap into from time to time
when we crave better times

or maybe, they’re not so fond
but rather, they’re memories
we would rather forget… but
no matter what, we can’t seem
to forget them, because they’ve
become traumatic strongholds

instead of avoiding the trauma
at all costs, we enter into Freud’s
theory of reenactment; we find
ourselves revisiting the past,
reencountering the memories

almost like traumatic triggers,
these memories end up there –
forever living and breathing –
in our unconscious thoughts

perhaps we do not welcome
the reminder of the emotions
the sensations, the conversations

so we dismiss them and seek
instant distraction to avoid them

we put the past
in this void inside
that we label:
“do not touch”

we teach ourselves to survive
by either seeking to repeat
and relive the past, or by doing
everything we can to avoid it

it is not an easy journey
to choose another way

we must learn
from our pasts,
and then, leave
them as passed

the past is passed

but how do we allow ourselves
to truly address our pasts
when they seem to appear
without warning into our present

how does one seek healing from war?
from violence? from stress triggers?
from those reactions that come like
a lightning bolt inside – fine one
moment, filled with fear the next

the nuances here are endless
i cannot seek to capture them

b u t

there is a haunting truth to why
we remember what we do
when it comes to our pasts

if we were to question why
we continually remember
certain things, might it be
a sign of unresolved trauma?

maybe we want understanding, or
we want answers and closure
from circumstances that came
into our lives, out of our control

if you reflect for a moment on
your childhood, as an example:

do you remember moments of joy
or occasions of discovery, or are
there strange fragments that only
leave you with question marks?

as children, there is much we
do not know about the world
we seek answers to questions
we present childlike curiosity
but what if we carry over these
big questions into adulthood?

might a part of out child selves
held onto certain things, because
we knew we did not understand
them at the time, but wanted to?

so perhaps there is unresolved
trauma, or lack of closure, or
unanswered questions, or maybe
it’s just that we experienced such
a heightened level of emotion in
those moments, that nothing we
do will ever seem to dim that
spark – whether it be a spark of
anxiety or a spark of joy, whether
it be a heightened level of fear or
a heightened level of happiness

deep inside, our emotions can live
buried in that void of “do not touch”

in the instance of ‘positive’ emotion;
(if there is such a label we can apply)
perhaps we do not want to touch them
because we don’t want to taint those
memories, we want them to remain pure
and untouched by pain and suffering
we want to store away that treasure,
those pockets of goodness and hope

in the instance of ‘negative’ emotion;
perhaps we do not want to touch them
because we do not want to feel them or
experience those emotions ever again

as you can see, our memories and emotions
these associations we have to the past, can
easily press in and overwhelm our present

(often, whether we allow them to, or not!)

the past may come to greet us
when we meet a person or place
that reminds us of this past state

when we meet someone
who reminds us of someone else
someone we apply a negative
association to in our minds
we can reject them instantly for
the ways they remind us of ‘other’

conversely, we can be drawn
to people who remind us
of someone from our pasts
despite the fact that this person
who occupies the present may be
a stranger, the foreignness of ‘other’
because of the positive association
we make in our minds to someone
else that we like from out pasts,
there can be a sense of familiarity

todays post is a philosophical rabbit hole
a little reflection on the process of coming
to a place of acceptance – the past is passed

logically i know this, and there is a huge drive and
emphasis in current culture to ‘live in the present’

but at an emotional and spiritual level, i realised there
were a few things i needed to unlearn from my past

mostly in the
department of
f o r g i v e n e s s

might our pasts, or rather, our ability to hold onto the past
to recall the past, say something to our capacity to keep a record

in my rabbit hole i remember
the scriptures speaking about
not keeping a record wrongs 

what about keeping a record, period?
never mind this record of right or wrongs
what about keeping records of anything?
the storage of memories and trauma?
what about holding onto the past?

to all my accountants out there, i appreciate you
but we are not on book keeping terms here
the terminology i am referring to is heart business
a different kind of value exchange … should we
keep a record of exchanges in and out of our hearts?
the damage done? the investments made?

yes and no

i want to be black and white, but it’s not black and white, is it?

of course, there will be loss, there will be wrongdoing
we are not exempt from immortality or immorality alike

we can receive damage to our hearts
through death, the loss of someone we held in our hearts
or emotional loss, through trust or relational breakdown

on the other hand our hearts can be filled and strengthed
there will be investment, growth and goodness overflowing

the challenge is how do we allow ourselves
to move between the black and white: the

losing and gaining, remembering and forgetting,
the healing and avoiding, past and present

to answer this we need to visit the scriptures
the reference about keeping a record of wrongs
let’s look deeper, what does it actually say here?
is this a command, an instruction, a rule? does
it say “thou shalt not keep a record of wrong”?

hmm … hang on the active agent in this passage
isn’t actually US, it isn’t about US doing the doing

who keeps no record of wrong?
what keeps no record of wrong?


who is patient? what is patient?
who is kind? what is kind?
who or what doesn’t envy?
who or what doesn’t boast?
who or what isn’t proud?
who or what doesn’t dishonour?
who or what isn’t self-seeking?
who or what isn’t easily angered?
who or what keeps no record of wrongs?
who or what doesn’t delight in evil?
who or what rejoices in truth?
who or what always protects?
who or what always trusts?
who or what always hopes?
who or what always perseveres?
who or what never fails?


you can read and see for yourselves
[ first corinthians thirteen ]

is the active agent here
is what we are invited to hold onto
to store in our hearts
to allow to rule over
our past, present and future

won’t keep a record
of right or wrong
won’t keep a tally
of loss or gain
won’t seek to measure
pain and hurt
to remember and dwell
on the past

operates in the present
because love IS a present

is the active agent, the gift
that works in our hearts and lives

“this is L O V E – not that we loved God, but
that he loved us and sent his Son as an
atoning sacrifice for our sins” – 1 John 4:10

we can love, because he first loved
we can forgive, because he first forgave
we can let the past pass, because he has
he has not held a record of our wrongs

(nor of our rights!! hello righteousness,
who or what is keeping a list of serving
and church and bible study attendance!?

there are no records, no past, no time
that can seperate us from this L O V E

“who shall seperate us from the L O V E
of Christ? shall trouble or hardship or
persecution or famine of nakedness or
[ read : trauma, pasts ] … no,
in all these things we are more than
conquerors through him who loved us.
for i am convinced that neither death
nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither the present not the future
[ wow
hold up! no past!?! the past is passed! ],
nor any powers, neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation, will be
able to seperate us from the
L O V E of
God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”

operates in the present
but love also operates
outside of time itself

if God is omnipresent
and if God is L O V E

then L O V E
is not mortal like us

this is why L O V E
is not only an active agent
but an eternal operative

can live and breathe beyond
our memories and pasts
beyond our present and future

we are immortal and immoral
which means we will fail to abide
to abide in L O V E, to abide in God

but he still invites us
into this L O V E
the eternal kind
the one that keeps
no record of wrongs
that ushers forth grace
and forgiveness
into the future wrongs
that we may walk into
or the past wrongs
we cannot forget

he writes us into his righteousness 
he writes our story as his story

a redemptive story, that invites us
to walk into our futures with hope

to walk in L O V E

Respond from the Heart