Thursday, September 20, 2007

Scrapbooking the wild years.

Scrapbooking the wild years.

Have you ever wished that you had committed more sins before you came back to God? That you had spent just a little longer engaged in wild living before you gave it all up and returned to the farm? Maybe slept with one more girl or tried one more drug or lived selfishly in one more way?

Maybe I’m the only one that’s done that. Perhaps I am the only one that occasionally scrapbooks the past, looking back wistfully on days I spent gallivanting across the countryside with pockets full of money and a mouth full of nonsense. Why do I do that?

What experience I might have had in the past would dramatically improve my present? Would there have ever been “enough” wild living to satisfy me and sustain my temptation for 70 years of life? Would a certain event have quelled the on again off again feeling that perhaps I missed out on something?

I don’t think so and I think it’s a dangerous line of thought. It’s a rip in the fabric of time that mentally takes me back to those moments. An escape pod from my normal suburban dad life that carries me back to days as a bachelor in Birmingham, when the weekend was all that really mattered. And when I take it, when I press that emergency button in my head that launches the pod, I shut myself off from everything around me. My wife, my kids, my job and endless meetings can blur together as I long for days long gone.

The reality is that there’s no amount of wild living that would satisfy me. The reality is that my now is far more beautiful than my then. And when I lose myself in the fantasy of scrapbooking the past, I lose the ability to be present. I lose touch with the here and I don’t think that’s a good thing.

And, when we scrapbook the past it’s never in a very realistic way. Things that were dingy and gray suddenly get freshened up with glitter and those scissors that cut funny shapes when you use them. We change our thoughts on what really happened:

The true memory, “I hated that my girlfriend worked at that skanky nightclub” becomes, “My girlfriend was so hip and had a really creative job.” The true memory, “I almost worked myself to death at the job” becomes, “Man, the money was so great back then, I could by anything and my career was really trending up.”

Today, I encourage you to walk around your head a little bit. Check to see if you have any escape pods waiting to whisk you away at a moment’s notice. Look in the corners of your heart and see where your past is hiding. Ask God why they are there, what they are saving you from and how you can get rid of them.

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