Lost Luggage-When I Grow Up I want to Be an Adult

Our past has a sneaky way of catching up with us. The truth is we all have our own baggage that we would like to permanently misplace somewhere. Throw it out, burn it, leave it behind-lost forever. Most of us deny our past, forget it, pretend like it never happened and we move on. But we don’t move on. Because we don’t know how. We get stuck. Our past effects our today.

My good friend Irene had such an experience. I appreciate her honesty and I hope she embarks on a journey of healing. But it reminded me of my own journey and my own past.

My 4 year old had a very tough time waking up this morning. I didn’t just switch topics… It turns out that even though mom and dad sent him to bed, he didn’t actually go to bed or to sleep. Instead he was caught by my twins playing in his room with his toys with the light on pretty late! Of course HIS version of the story was that our twins barged into his room, turned the lights on and woke him up.

This is what children do: They make bad decisions, they suffer unknown consequences and then they angrily blame someone else later on. But, that’s what kids do! They don’t know any better. When Calvin realizes that it feels better to be awake and happy in the morning then he’ll make better decisions at night. Or he’ll understand that he is the reason why he is cranky and whiny. But today he is 4 and he just doesn’t get it. So it is the responsibility of someone older and wiser to guide him and help him make the right decisions. Someone safe.

What happens when the influence isn’t wiser or safe? What if another guides us in the wrong direction? What if an adult hurts us? Well, then we get a whole lot of 4 year old adults running around.

I have a past too. And so does my spouse. It is ugly stuff. Abuse, hurt, pain…unhealthiness. At one time we were adult children, running around making bad decisions that hurt ourselves and others. We blamed our past and we blamed others. Because we didn’t know how to make good decisions-we just didn’t know what that looked like. We just knew the screwed up past. We had an inkling that our past wasn’t the same past as most of our friends. We hoped that the present wasn’t how things were supposed to be. But we didn’t have the maturity to make the right decisions. We become a wounded adult child. We needed help. We needed another healthy influence to help us grow up. And to help us realize that we are responsible for the choices we make today.

So some of us seek help. I spent the first several years of my marriage in various Christian self-help groups. Christian 12-step programs, learning how to recognize the screwed upness of my present, learning how to set boundaries. Recognizing who caused the pain, identifying the unhealthiness in the past, understanding how it effects my present and finally recognizing that I am the only one to blame for my present. Recognizing my need for Christ and healthy friends. I found safety. I found people who were like me. I found healing. And I was able to break free of my past and be liberated.

I didn’t do it on my own, but I grew up somewhere along the line. I still have my past-I can’t erase it. It isn’t lost luggage. It isn’t stuck in a closet somewhere. But it is no longer the centerpiece of my life. And it no longer controls me. I have learned how to deal with it, to live with it. It is neatly packed and out of the way. Where it belongs. Where it won’t hurt me or others. I don’t have a need for it. Because it is dirty and trashy. But I understand it. I remember it when I need to. And most of all I learn from it. I recognize when I am doing something because of it. And I make a different decision. A healthy decision. And because of that damn dirty, filthy, sinful, painful, abusive, harmful past I am able to help others. I become a wounded healer. That is a miracle and it is grace and mercy all at the same time. Heck, now I am an adult among many 4 year olds! It seems absurd at times. I’m the healthy one! Healthier anyway…

Minnie and I are always keeping an eye out for those around us who are wounded and who we identify with and who might be looking to grow up. We’ve been there. We want to help. The truth is we aren’t the parent/adult that is needed in their lives. Christ is the only healthy adult that can truly transform and heal and restore one to healthiness. Fortunately Minnie and I know that Holy Father. And we would like to facilitate introductions.

-Derin-

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3 responses to “Lost Luggage-When I Grow Up I want to Be an Adult

  1. I think a lot of times part of the reason we can not heal is that we do not allow ourselves to experience anger and give our hurt a vioce to say that wrongs were done to us. WE are told that it is wrong to be angry, and that if we experience anger or say when someone wronged then it means that we have not forgiven them. But we must allow ourselves to experience it before we can heal.

    Derin Says: I don’t think very many of us have a problem with getting angry over our past hurts or at those that have hurt us. We’re angry, we’ve been angry, we’ve made bad decisions because of our anger. We may feel guilt and shame because we felt anger-I think that is what you are talking about-that we don’t allow ourselves to process anger in a healthy manner because of what we’ve been told at church. And we are encouraged to forgive before we are ready. I agree with you there. But most times-even when we allow ourselves to be “OK” with anger-even then our anger transforms us into unhealthy people. We don’t stop being angry. We don’t know how. We just wait until we don’t feel angry anymore. That’s what children do.

    And I am NOT referring to one person-I am referencing my own past experiences-and that of my wife-if anyone. My past wasn’t that long ago. And sometimes it isn’t in the past at all.

    -Derin-

  2. Derin,

    This blog entry hit right on with what I needed to hear! I hope that one day, soon….I am able to write a similar entry of freedom and liberation. (of being entirely free from my past) It’s a journey, and thankfully I now have God with me on it.

    Thanks for the words of wisdom, courage and faith!

    Ps. you can link to my blog through Donnie’s.

    Derin Says: I greatly appreciate your comments. And I enjoy your blog too!

  3. Oh… good post!

    My past is effecting how I raise my children — and I hope I’m talking to them, more than people talked to me — about WHY we are raising them that way. Communication. It’s a good thing.

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