Does your past bury you or carry you?

In my life, for the most part, I’ve let my past carry me. I’ve let it be the fuel for my passion for life and people. I’ve let situations that would normally smother someone, breathe life into me. Since 1996, when I gave my life to following God, I’ve seemed a champion, a conqueror, of my unpleasant (sometimes horrendous) past. If I felt memories starting to drown me, I’d just absorb myself into something new.

Lately, something is changing in me. I’m realizing that I’m not so much a champion as much as I am a survivor. I’m still learning how to survive my past and not let it bury me. There have been times that my past has been a hazard, a hurdle, that has seemed too difficult to leap over, too tough a task to overcome. Guilt over a friend killing himself and another being murdered, the trauma of having been taken advantage of time and time again can sometimes reduce me to nothing but a shell of a person.

Would I change anything from the history that now seems to define the passionate, loving person I am today? I don’t know. There is so much that is ingrained into the foundation of who I am. So much of what I consider trauma allows me to empathize and understand people that others would walk on and ignore. So much of what disgusts me from my past allows me to protect my children in ways I never would have originally dreamed of needing protection. So much of the guilt from my past pushes me to never give in, never give up, never surrender in the fight for my own life and the fight for the lives around me.

Would I sacrifice the momentary pain, that sometimes still lingers, and the extraordinary love and compassion I have for people by changing my past? I think not.

I choose to allow my past to pave a path for my future and in the legacy I leave behind in the generations of life to come.