By Cindy Walker Burton
John F. Kennedy once stated: “History is a relentless master. It has not present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside.” What I glean from his wise words is that if you hold on to the past, you get tossed aside while the future happens. Your past does not dictate your future. Do you plan on visiting your past anytime soon? Go ahead. Memories are nostalgic, comforting, healing. But just visit the past – don’t live in it. My mom used to say, “Let bygones be bygones” and “let the sleeping dogs lie.” Some folks adhere to “let go and let God.” The Beatles said, “Let it be.” Some say the past is water under the bridge or that ship has already sailed. Isaiah 43:18 reads: “Forget the former things; do not dwell in the past.” Armed with all of this sage knowledge, why do we tend to take mini-vacations to the past and stay there, or lambast ourselves over days gone by? You can’t undo the past. Yesterday is history and tomorrow is a mystery. Augustine Birrel called history “that great dust heap.” Is there anything to be gained from kicking up the dirt of the past? Norman Cousins said, “History is a vast early warning system.” If you look at the past constructively, take note of the red flags and try to learn from your mistakes and not repeat them. I know – it’s easier said than done; we’re only human. We all walk down memory lane and revisit or relive self doubt, mistakes and regrets or sins of the past. “Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it,” quoted George Santayana. Quite true. However, remembering history doesn’t mean putting roots down in it. You can’t bloom in the dust of the past. Plant yourself today, and watch yourself bloom tomorrow.