The Thief of Time
By Judy Berman
Suppose you could jump into Doctor’s Tardis. If you could turn back the hands of time, what would you do? What would you change?
Fear and regret are the thieves of dreams.
Regret over things you cannot change steals away precious time from the present.
You’re unable to let go of the past. Old hurts, broken friendships, misunderstandings, bitter exchanges that you wish you could take back.
I recall a time I was mulling over a bad work relationship as I was out walking my dog. I stood there in the yard, rooted to the spot and rehashed one painful scene.
As I looked across the yard, in the dark, I could see my neighbor sitting on his front porch. He probably thinks I’m crazy, I laughed to myself.
Yet, here I was … five years after I’d left the job, still agonizing over how I was treated and wondering what if …
What if we could wipe the slate clean and begin anew? If only, we could just say, “I forgive you. Do you forgive me?”
Well, a year or two later, I ran into my nemesis at the beach and had a bit of insight into how I could resolve this.
I flashed a smile her way and gave her a cheerful hello. She froze, glared at me, did not return my greeting and walked away. I thought, “Well. I tried.” And I Iet it go.
That felt good.
It’s also not the end of the story.
A couple of years later, she saw me at a basketball clinic where I was reporting, and ran up to talk to me. I’d like to say that she had an epiphany herself, but she just wanted me to interview her daughter.
I did. Inside, I was chuckling. No hard feelings. I’d let it go some time ago.
Fear also harms the future by paralyzing us into inaction. “Well, there’s no sense writing a book. No one will buy it,” you rationalize as you squander your time playing Candy Crush on the internet.
What will the day bring we ask as we peer out the window.
Happiness is always ahead of us.
You reason that things will be better if you win the lottery or after you get a job that pays more. Or, life will be a dream once you move across the country.
At one time, I dreaded my long commute to work – 55 miles each way – and wanted to land a job closer to home. The move wasn’t in the cards.
So I hunkered down to do the best I could at the newspaper I worked at. Before I knew it, I had a new appreciation and a better attitude about my workplace.
Things were really turning around. When I wasn’t looking to move, that’s when an opportunity opened up … and with mixed feelings I decided to go for it.
When you dwell on the past or worry about what the future will bring, you’re missing out on the best part: today.
Make the most of it. Put regret in your rear-view mirror. Look fear in the eye, and embrace a new challenge.
I’d like to thank a visiting priest at our church, Father Eugene O’Reilly, whose inspiring message about the thieves of our time – the past and the future – prompted me to write this post.
Video Clip: Doctor Who – Rose – series1 – BBC ‘ “Is It Always This Dangerous?” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WX-R1lfycmw
COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-15. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider, earth-rider.com, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Photo: Tardis – Doctor Who, author: aussiegall, Sydney, Australia http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/7e/Dr_Who_%28316350537%29.jpg/480px-Dr_Who_%28316350537%29.jpg
Photo: What Will the Day Bring? Taken Oct. 29, 2010, author: Alex Proimos, Sydney, Australia http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/cc/What_will_the_day_bring%3F_%285124379114%29.jpg/640px-What_will_the_day_bring%3F_%285124379114%29.jpg
Photo: Free – Mountain biking – taken Sep.t 5, 2012, author: Pdemile http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f5/Free-ride.jpg/640px-Free-ride.jpg
So true. Letting go is the hardest thing to do.
Kate, this is something I’m constantly working on.
Great post, Judy. I’m happy that you’re happy. Learning from the past is a must, and then you can let the bad stuff go. (Your former workplace nemesis appears to still be a real ass, by the way. There, I held on to a tad of the bitterness in your proxy.) FYI, after a week of green grass, we woke up to a new couple of inches of the white stuff this morning. Sigh.
Mark, this is why I’ve always treasured your friendship. I’m trying to be all positivity and you tell it like it is. Hysterical!
For a giggle about snow, check out my FB post on Calvin & Hobbes’ Snowmen prophets of doom! Thank you for the chuckle you provided to Dave and me. 😆
What a great post! Thanks so much for all your wisdom.
Thank you for the compliment, Ann. My outlook has more to do with surviving the school of hard knocks. 😉
That’s a very effective school, I would say.
note from earthrider to Ann Kaplow:
Yes, it is and if you remember the lessons, you get more than a passing grade. 😉
If I can turn back time, I will go back in 2005. Someone me & my wife trusted stole not just money but our trust, heart and so many hopeful dreams. It took so much time & healing to start again but God has his ways of helping us survive. Thanks for sharing this post, in a way, it gives a piece of hope that we all can change for the better. Happy New Year!
I’m sorry that you and you wife had that experience, Island Traveler. If it’s any comfort, I’ve found that out of some of my bad experiences that something really wonderful happened. Blessings to you and your family.
This is such an important reminder, Judy. Fear and regret certainly are the thieves of time.
I was especially interested that your nemesis came to you years later, but it was to have you interview her daughter, which was fairly predictable. Your response, however, because you’d already forgiven the situation and let it go, was genuine and powerful.
A wonderful post, Judy!
I’m not sure – at the time – if I saw that coming, Marilyn. But, you’re right, I’d let it go some time ago. Thank you for your comments. I’m glad you liked the post.
Loved this post! And it really comes at the right time for me. Thanks Judy.
I used to have a “No Fear” shirt with this slogan on it to remind myself to embrace new challenges. Thank you for your comments, Darla.
That is a great lesson for us all to learn Mom. I think it only makes us human to feel hurt when we are wronged but it does make us better when we can move on.
And side note: the show is called Doctor Who and the character is just the Doctor, so it would be the Doctor’s Tardis. 😉
The one holding onto a negative memory is most hurt by it. So it’s really better emotionally and psychologically to let it go.
Argghhh! Jenn, I knew I should have shown you my Doctor Who material before I posted. Thank you for the “side note” and consider it done. 😉
No worries Mom, consider it a rookie mistake!
This is a beautiful post. Judy reminds us all to savor and celebrate what we have, and to reach for the stars rather than dwelling on old hurts or missed opportunities. Embrace the gift of today. Thank you, Judy!
Thank you for your comments, Trish, and for sharing my post on Facebook. Much obliged.
One of the best quotes I’ve read on forgiveness was by author Anne Lamott: “Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.”
It is much better to stop letting those folks live rent-free in your head and for you to enjoy life and move on.
I’ve often fallen into this trap of thinking and re-thinking a bad situation that was over and I just need to move on. Really, I am just hurting myself when I allow myself to think this way. Sometimes it really is easier to say move on than to actually do it. Nice post.
Sometimes, it’s hard to get rid of that negative tape loop in our heads. Here’s a TED video that I think you’ll enjoy not just for its stunning time-lapse photography but also for its positive message about gratefulness. I know I love it. http://www.ted.com/talks/louie_schwartzberg_nature_beauty_gratitude.html
It was beautiful, a message I seem to need to be reminded of frequently, just to be grateful for everything. I also really liked the time lapse flowers near the beginning. Thanks for sharing.
comment from earthrider to Photography Journal:
Glad you liked the TED video. I watch it from time to time myself. It’s a beautiful reminder of what’s important.
Have a wonderful week ahead.
Thank you, Island Traveler. I wish you the same.
What a wonderfully inspiring post!
What is it that makes us hold onto our regrets and angers?
The interesting aspect of our lives is that each one of us, at some logical level, understands the aspect of ” letting go”, that awareness that it is only through such “letting go” can we lessen our pain and ‘move on’. But even with such awareness, as we face challenges, we shift and hunker down inside our emotional armours and lo, behold! All our anger, pain, regrets are back in control……. And so we frequently ‘find’ ourselves rooted to the spot ( as you found yourself doing that day!), oblivious of our present and fully reliving and re-reliving those emotional moments of the past. So I ask again, what is that makes us do so? What is it that makes us hold onto our regrets and angers?
Whenever I have thought of this, I have always come back to the aspect of “Me… Mine… Self”. Somewhere, deep down, we remain conditioned to self-protect and self-preserve. Sometimes and on some occasions this may show up in the garb of ‘selfishness’. To give up the Self therefore is to be able to give up some aspects of self-preservation. How many of us hold the mental courage and inner resolve to do that? What support structure would be needed to succeed?
Hello Shakti …
You make some valid points, Shakti. I don’t know why many of us dwell on to the past. You can’t undo it. Even Frank Sinatra sang of “Regrets, I’ve had a few (but I did it my way).” If we learn from the experience, then it was something we benefited from.
Self-preservation might kick in when you want to avoid being hurt again. Old adage: “Fool me once. Shame on you. Fool me twice. Shame on me.” As long as the armor (of self-protection) does its job … and is not used just to shut people out, then few might be inclined to give that up.
Thank you for sharing your insights.
Another marvelous and thought provoking post Judy. I have found it hard to let go at times, but the sense of relief and peace of mind that affords is priceless. Easier to do as we get older certainly. Could be the diminished preoccupation with ego 🙂
You nailed it, Madhu. To move on, I need to let go of the past. It is freeing to get rid of negative experiences. They just weigh you down.
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