We’ve all had the experience of suddenly letting loose on someone, leaving them and us wondering, “Where the hell did that come from?!” The heart can be a many-roomed mystery mansion where unresolved issues reside like squatters! By way of trying to understand we repeatedly revisit some of these issues but is this really helpful? I was watching a film about someone named Carl Panzram who spent a lifetime burglarizing, raping, murdering and was eventually executed for his efforts! As the film enumerated his list of atrocities I wondered, “What can create a heart so wounded as to result in a complete lack of fear or respect for God and Man?” As the film went on it became clear that the abuse he suffered when young and defenseless had grown a rage within him which resulted in his saying on film, “I couldn’t injure those who had injured me but I could injure someone else.”
Not all of us have suffered such ongoing trauma as Carl did but things do happen in life which can poison and pervert the unguarded heart. As a result of our own miseries most of us don’t go out and commit the crimes that Carl did. Still, if deep in our heart’s darkness we water the seed of our hurts then that seed can grow and vine itself around our heart to choke out any desire to treat others rightly. All of this bears on the issue of being careful about the hurts that we keep revisiting and insist upon re-tasting! Indulged in often enough it is possible for us to do more damage to our heart than what was inflicted upon us in the past! There comes a point where we must refuse to revisit the past, where we must turn away from living in it and then live more fully in the present!
As a Spiritual guide and as a Priest to whom others come for confession I hear so much pain and confusion about what to do with that pain! Quite often we had no control over what happened to us in our past but we do have control over our now! There comes a time when we need to put the pain down and walk away from it! Stop indulging in it and stop wallowing in it! Let go of the pity-party! The past is the past! Live NOW!