Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Forgiveness or forgetfulness.....which would you choose?

They say "don't look back". I don't ever know who "they" are when I make statements like this. Everyone in general, no one in particular. I've often given this advice myself to friends. But a thought occurred to me when I was writing the last post about my trip home to see my family. I wrote, "I could see the completely round sphere of yellow orange in my rear view mirror", referring to the sun sinking lower in the sky behind me, as I drove east. Excited for where I was going, I was driving forward to a destination I really wanted to reach as quickly as possibly. Obviously I was looking straight ahead, you can't drive looking backwards right? But, I still saw the sun, in my rear view mirror, it was beautiful.

My thoughts are these. Yes, we should absolutely move forward. See tomorrow, be excited about it if we can. If we're unable to, then we should make changes so that we can be. Look forward to the future and the possibilities it holds. But I don't think we should lose all sight of the past. The decisions we've made along the way, good and bad, shaped who we are today. New friendships and old ones, new jobs, or ones we've stayed in for a long time, relationships or marriages.....life decisions. These things encompass the sum total of our current identity. It's okay to read the last chapter, close the book, reflect, then place it on a shelf. But that doesn't mean the next book won't be written.

One of my favorite movies is "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", if only for the intrigue it brings alone. It made me ask myself the question, "would you erase this if you could", referring to past decisions. If I'm being honest of COURSE there are things I would like to erase from my past, I'm human. But if I could only answer once, involving all decisions, friendships, etc, my answer was no then and still is. Even if some of the things are painful, I don't want to erase them. I learned from them. If I erase it, my knowledge goes with it, that wouldn't work for me. I need what I learned, for the next book.
I'm not necessarily trying to plug this movie, it's definitely different and probably not for everyone. A good friend told me that it's based on a poem by Alexander Pope, titled "Eloisa to Abelard". If I had been a "googler" back then, when I saw it, I would have known this. I was glad he told me, you know I went straight to google to check it out. =)
In Pope's poem, Eloisa is in anguish over the powerful feelings she still has for Abélard, especially in her dreams, and by the realization that for various reasons (I'm being vague on purpose in case you want to read for yourself) , he could not return her feelings even if he wanted to. And so she begs, not for forgiveness, but for forgetfulness.

Okay I understand why she would want this. How easy is that, to hit "delete" on memories that are painful. But to grow, isn't it better to just let that pain in for a little while, then release it? If it's handled that way, it's got closure written all over it.

"Those things that hurt, instruct" Benjamin Franklin

So I'm driving forward, looking through the windshield, towards tomorrow. But that sunset in my rear view mirror is pretty awesome, eh? Glance at it every once in a while, it's okay.

We have to have watermelon with breakfast tomorrow, it's SO good.
See you soon,

"How happy is the blameless vestal's lot! The world forgetting, by the world forgot. Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind! Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd ..."

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