I start today lingering over a range of recent moments. It is as if memories refuse to take their leave. Given that more than a few come with links to frustration on my part, I find myself slowing down to take a fresh look. Is it healthy to let moments linger, especially if they are linked with a negative emotion? What should I do with moments that are past and out of my control?
I hear old echoes of my mother, good friends, and mentors reminding me to let go. Pieces of their echoes resonate and yet I find myself hesitating. What criteria should I look out for to help me decide? Should I take precautions with lingering memories that are potentially toxic? What does the past have to do with the present?
I doubt I have a perfect or complete answer. What I can do is share some of the reflections Life has left with me for my use.
Lingering moments are useful if one of two conditions is satisfied. One condition is that question learning from them. If there is anything to be learned, use the experience to grow. If not, move on to the second condition.
Does the memory lead me towards hope and possibilities? Can I see something in this memory that I missed earlier? Looking at an experience with a different perspective often changes the narrative. Exploring possibilities in how one reacted to an event often refocuses one view. If the process leads to hope and possibilities then use it as a reflective step towards more. Again, if the memory does not meet the criteria then it is time to walk away.
Life reminds me that it is often hard to walk away. There is a conscious step that is recommended by more than just one faith system. Do not try to abandon the memory, give it away to Divinity. David’s advice is as current as it when he first realized its validity; “Mark and remember, God, all the enemy taunts, each idiot desecration.” (Psalm 74.18)
Linger but not too long.