As part of my healing process, the friend I was working with encouraged me to write out the situations I was still carrying. I had to do it one at a time.
I was to re-tell the story, adding in my feelings, reactions and anything else I felt I needed to. The idea was to get it all out. Or at least as much as I could right then.
I didn’t have to do them in chronological order. I could skip around wherever I needed to.
Some of the stories would need to be visited more than once, as I was ready to heal more and more.
In my last few posts, I talked about losing my first husband to depression. I wrote about the parts of our relationship that I was ready to deal with. I detailed fights, conversations and feelings that I had buried down deep.
I wrote it all down in a notebook I had purchased specifically for this.
And I got a hand cramp from writing so much. I left tear stains on each and every page. I tried to remember all of the feelings that I could from that time. I grieved all over again.
And then I had to do the hardest part of all. I had to look at myself in the mirror and say, “I forgive you.” And I had to say out loud that I forgave him. And the people that were still hurting me today.
I had to take my power back from the memories and let myself move on.
This was the first step in me dropping one of my bags. I didn’t really need to keep on carrying anything.
I’m not saying that sometimes the memories don’t pop up. Or that they don’t affect me. What I’m saying is, that when they do pop up, I can acknowledge them.
I can take the memory and move on. I can choose to remember his laugh. He was the only person I know who actually guffawed when laughing. And I can miss that laugh without feeling any guilt. I can remember all the times he spun me around the dance floor.
My friend told me that once I had done all of that, I was to get rid of what I had written. I could mail it to her. I could shred it. I could add it to the compost. Or I could burn it.
With this particular memory, I felt it most appropriate to burn it. I wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t be able to dwell on those words. Or talk them over with my friend.
Or worry about finding them among my carrots one day. It really felt like that could happen to me.
I wanted to absolutely and truly be done with those memories and tears.
And I felt so silly, putting the pages in to a metal waste bin and lighting them on fire. But after I had done it, I also felt lighter.
Friends, I don’t know if you have a particularly heavy bag you want to put down. If you do, I would encourage you, even if you can’t unpack the whole thing, maybe just peel back the first layer. Write it down. And then forgive yourself. Burn it if you must. Move on.
Feel how great it is to be just that little bit lighter.
And don’t feel bad that you are still carrying some bags after. We are all a work in progress. All of us. And we all have to work on forgiving ourselves and moving on.
I pray today, you are gentle with yourself. Lean in to grace. Lean in to the forgiveness that He offers. Make space for your memories and the lessons you have learned.