It’s spring cleaning time in the Tabor home. Time to purge the closets, dressers, cabinets and rooms from attic to basement. Time to air out the dusty, musty linens and freshen up the carpets. Time to wash windows, doors and floors. Time for a fresh, clean start.
Spring cleaning season is also a good time to clean out the cobwebs in our heart. As I was cleaning my office I got sidetracked looking through old scrapbooks, and I discovered something: I’ve been purging my heart (as well as my home) for a very long time–even before my cancer diagnosis in 2009. I discovered this scrapbook page created early in 2009, back when I was still coming to terms with my dad’s death, and learning to separate the woman I am (or at least was when I wrote it!) from the child I was under my father’s roof.
In case you can’t read it very well, this is what it says:
“The past shapes us and gives us an opportunity to learn. It should not hold us back or keep us from becoming the beautiful person God intends us to be. We do not have to be held down by the memories (good or bad) that helped to get us where we are today.
Who are you, little girl?
- Are you the scared little waif you were when you were 2?
- Are you unsure of yourself; uncertain of the world around you?
- Do you fear the darkness and all the unknown things it may hold?
- Are you running in fear from the past, the present, and the future?
- Do you believe that everyone good is going to leave and all you’ll be left with is those that want to hurt you?
- Are you now a confident, and competent mother of four?
- Do you love your caring husband beyond all measure?
- Do you have hope for tomorrow when you turn out the lights each night?
- Can you feel the laughter [and] music, instead of shouting and tears?
- Do you have faith in a God that loves and protects and never leaves?
- Are you learning from the past, living in the moment, and dreaming of the future to be?
Live in the moment…Enjoy LIFE! (Seems to be a familiar theme with me!)
Then cancer struck and threw more questions my way. More baggage to sift through…or at least I thought it was going to do so.
In many ways, cancer made the purging of my heart simpler, easier, less painless even. In an instant, I went from sifting through mountains of emotional baggage to focusing only on the MOST important issue of the moment…living. Each and every moment was the most important one at that time, I had no time to worry about the past–and with the effects of chemo brain, I often didn’t remember it anyway! And I had no energy to worry about tomorrow–it would get here when it got here, if it got here.
In sifting through my mountains of paperwork today, I discovered a journal note written shortly after my lumpectomy. I was contemplating one of my favorite Bible passages, Psalm 90:12, which reads:
“Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom.” (NIV)or the translation I prefer: “Teach us how short our lives really are so that we may be wise.” (NCV)
In my journal note, I wrote out several different translations and then I paraphrased them all: “Life is short…don’t waste it!”
This verse and my paraphrase has become my mantra. My focus. My greatest desire for how I want to live my life. Because whether you are blessed with 100 years or 50, in the giant scheme of this ever-spinning world, LIFE IS SHORT. And it’s our job to make the most of every second of our own personal existence.
We can choose to live in the past…focus on the wrongs that have been done to us, or the wrongs we have done to others. Or we can choose to live in the moment realizing it could be our last. Making each one count. Making each one special… unique… memorable… worth living.
In life, there will always be regrets–things we should have done, or said, and didn’t. Things we shouldn’t have done and did. My point is not about not making mistakes. My point is to not waste MORE time fretting over the should-have-beens, could-have-beens or might-have-beens. We can only move forward from the bad in our past when we CHOOSE to let go and move forward. Spring cleaning for the soul.
So as I continue my spring cleaning purge of the Tabor home, that’s what I once again choose to do. I choose to purge my heart and mind of past pains and regrets and spring forward into a fresh clean today!