Life is full of “curved balls” – some of them surprising and pleasantly beneficial, but others testing and even painful, to say the least. Just when we think all is turning in our favour (“things are getting better now”), some or other hardship comes along to seemingly confound our good attempts at making real progress. These challenges, sometimes of external origin, but often self-initiated and self-inflicted through neglect, mistakes or bad behaviour, tend to pull the rug out from under one’s feet, causing endless pain and emotional dissonance in our lives and potentially the lives of others too. Unless healing for pain and solutions to problems are sought, this dissonance will continue to plague our desire to move forward and make progress with our relationships, spiritually and with our careers.

Many years ago, in fact, close to 2 000 years ago, Paul, of the early Christian church, wrote: “ … forgetting what lies behind, I press on towards the goal …” His use of this Koine Greek word “to forget” is fascinating – it does not mean “absent-mindedness” or “being forgetful”, but rather “making peace with all that has happened in the past”. In other words, he is suggesting that one needs to come to terms with the events of the past and their effects and rather to press on towards the goal – not getting bogged down or held back by negative history, hurtful experiences or painful memories, but rather processing and dealing with them to free yourself up for the challenges of what lie ahead.

I am forgetful at times – if I were to forget my mobile on the roof of the car absentmindedly whilst in town and locking the vehicle, I would become panic-stricken realising that the chance of me finding the mobile in exactly the same location would be negligible – someone would have taken it. I do, however, sometimes forget where I have placed my mobile whilst at home – in these circumstances, I am at peace as no-one will pick it up and walk off with it. All I have to do is call my own number and it will ring somewhere in the house. Perhaps a similar peace is available for the person who “forgets” the past – who has dealt with the pain and possible guilt of past experiences and has found freedom in knowing restoration regarding the matter.

In 1981, Bill Broadhurst entered the Pepsi Challenge 10,000 meter race in Omaha, Nebraska. Ten years earlier, surgery for an aneurysm in the brain had left him paralyzed on his left side. But on that July morning, he stood with 1 200 other men and women at the starting line. The gun sounded and the crowd surged ahead. Bill threw his stiff left leg forward and pivoted on it – stomp-stomp-stomp – making slow progress around the track. Some of the runners completed the race in about thirty minutes, but two hours and twenty-nine minutes later, Bill reached the finish line. A man approached him from a small group of remaining spectators. Though exhausted, Bill recognized him from pictures in the newspaper. It was Bill Rodgers, the famous marathon runner, who then draped his newly won medal around Bill’s neck. Bill Broadhurst’s finish was as glorious as that of the world’s greatest!

Emotional and spiritual disability may have plagued your past – leaving this as is without restoration and healing creates endless cycles of dissonance and pain, the same inhibiting and perhaps prohibiting progress and the ability to achieve one’s goals and deepest desires for meaning in life. Seek help spiritually and emotionally, “forget” the past and “press on towards the goal”.

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