Incomplete, inconclusive, fragmented, all words applicable to the past of certain situations in all of our lives. We have all heard the cliche statement time and time again, “Life goes on.” This is true, but sometimes in everyone’s life a certain person, event, or thought may trigger a response of a wide range of emotions. As difficult as these hidden emotions may be to deal with at times, it is necessary for clarity and closure to address such situations.
So question, have you ever hurt someone in your past either intentionally or by mistake? It’s easy to play the victim when we’re on the receiving end of pain but how much harder is it to accept responsibility for pain you directly or indirectly caused another individual? Even then, once you’ve accepted responsibility how do we deal with the guilt? Think about it, in some extreme cases we’re no longer able to communicate with those we have wronged due to losing touch or maybe they have passed away.
I truly believe our lives are written by God, the author and finisher of our faith. I find peace and comfort in knowing that God knows the end before we start the beginning. What I have a hard time understanding is the correlation between the free will that God gives us to live out the chapters He has already written, verses His omnipotence that has already finished the book. By the end of this article, I hope that you my reader, will receive some insight as well. Stay with me.
I recently had a conversation with a good friend of mine. She shared with me a story of how in the past she unintentionally hurt one of her best friends in college. She recently ran into him after several years and he was acting noticeably distant. When she questioned him about his demeanor he finally expressed all the feelings of both love and anger he had towards her. He told her how it hurt when he had to find out via text message, only one day before the wedding, that she was getting married. He expressed how at that time it felt as if his heart had been ripped out of his chest yet all he could respond was a reluctant “Congratulations”
Fast forward 5 years and my dear friend is going through a painful divorce. When she finished telling me her story I responded, ‘Have you ever heard the statement, this is a closed chapter in your life? Unfortunately, when it comes to your college friend this is what it is, a chapter closed. She responded, ‘How can the chapter be closed if it was never written in the first place?’ Interesting synopsis, I thought to myself. I stopped to really digest that question and after some contemplation realized her frustration was not because it was a completed chapter but because there wasn’t closure in one that was never written. So now she is living with thoughts of “what if’s” and “I wonder.”
Some of us have situations from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and 2000’s that are incomplete chapters in our book of life. If we are honest, sometimes regret can creep into our thinking and negative emotions may flare from seemingly missed opportunities in our past. Not everyone has the Peaches and Herb experience of “Reunited and it feels so good”. Some of us have the Katy Perry experience of “The one that got away”. What do we do with those feelings?
I unfortunately don’t have the magical answer for the chapters that were never written. One thing I have learned as a writer though is that the chapters never written have snippets of wisdom and experience that we can use in the current stories of our lives. There is a reason why you are not with that person, did not get that job or promotion, or couldn’t qualify for that home. Could it be that in your story, God is completing an even greater masterpiece of art,such that when others read your story that will draw strength and hope from it?
I challenge you my reader not to run from your past. Give yourself permission to dissect the intricate details of the chapters never written or completed. I know it hurts, and although you cannot go back and write those chapters yourself, learn from them and use that wisdom to positively impact your story currently being written. After all we are only human, which means we live out what is written. Even the best writers are limited in their creative scope which means that the inspiration to do more has to come from somewhere. Find the beauty in your struggle, and use it in each future chapter of your story as you reflect back from memory lane. Signing off for now.