looking back…to the present

Sometimes I like to reread old journal entries. Okay, often I like to. Almost every time I write in my paper journal, I flip backward to reread some account of what I was feeling a week ago, a month ago, or five months ago. (Not quite a year, since I started my current paper journal in February ’09.) Why the fascination with events passed; thoughts and emotions preserved on paper? I don’t know. There’s something about the past that draws me in, even when it’s merely to thank God that I’m not going through a particular heartache any longer, or that I am no longer battling with a fear that used to clutch me.

Lately I have realized, again, how difficult is this “living in the now.” I’ve had plenty of grand experiences in the past, and plenty of unpleasant ones too. Why do I tend to idealize certain experiences or time periods, choosing not to remember the negative aspects of those times? It’s certainly not a bad thing, is it, to gloss over difficult times in my memory, and choose to remember the good? At the same time, idealizing a certain time in my life can lead to idolizing it, or wishing I could find a time machine and travel backward to re-capture some of those moments.

Honestly, sometimes I ache to have a day at Wittlingen dorm in the “old days” when I worked there as a Resident Assistant. The RA role had plenty of difficulties and stresses, sometimes more than I could adequately cope with – yet it was incredibly rewarding. Rich and deep and sweet. There were so many sides to my life there, and its pace was ridiculously fast – too fast to sustain for more than a few years. I remember how exhausted I felt at the end of my two-year term. Still, I think it has been difficult for me to slow down and adjust to the pace of my life here in America, compared to what it was like living with around 30 people. It’s just different here. A lot different.

Now, I feel like I’m being pulled and stretched, but am uncertain in which directions. I feel ready to burst out and grow, but am not quite there yet. It’s difficult for me to define, or even understand myself right now, so I think that’s why the past looks so appealing. So simple and good.

Do I need a time machine to take me back to carefree childhood? Or care-ful yet sweet and rewarding life in Europe? Or perhaps I need to focus on the present, avoid many thoughts of the future, and trust that God is working His perfect will although the road is foggy?

Yes to the latter question, and pray. Yes, pray.

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2 Responses

  1. Jessica, I was just talking with Paul about my struggle to be content with where I’m at currently. I find that similarly to you, my mind also tends to drift between past and future much more often than I feel is beneficial. I see where I want to be, but know that it will take time to arrive in that place.

    Your post definitely speaks to me at this very moment.

  2. Pamela, it’s nice to know I’m not alone! It’s something I have been dealing with since last year, but in a way I feel like we always deal with it in some respects (it just goes up or down) — the whole “grass is greener” syndrome. 🙂 AnywayZ ;), we’ll have to discuss this more on Friday. I’ll be in touch re: movie times!

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