So, just how clearly do you see the past?  Conventional wisdom seems to suggest the highly regarded and often repeated cliché, “Hindsight is 20/20” as our guidepost.  In other words once we get beyond something and have the ability to look in the rearview mirror of our life experiences and circumstances life just seems to make more sense to us.  I would suspect the contrarian cliché, “things are as clear as mud” is the more prevalent thought for many of us most of the time.  It would be an understatement for me to tell you that many of the memories from my past, in particular my childhood, are muddy.   In fact, the truth is many of them seem almost non-existent because of either a conscious or sub-conscious effort on my part to repress them, especially the fears and emotional wounds.  Well, it seems I had to go half way around the world to have some things cleared up and curiously enough to be freed up as a result of having the mud removed from my memories.

About fifty-five years ago life seemed to deal me a defining blow when I was born with a genetic defect in my left hand.  This reality, which I wouldn’t trade for the world by the way, resulted in my having to endure numerous surgeries during my formative, childhood years aimed at stemming an abnormal growth pattern as well as providing some cosmetic relief during my adolescent and teenage years.  Well, the inward manifestation of this outward reality was this; the lingering fear of abandonment. Though an unfounded and irrational fear it became a constant companion growing up and ultimately played a part in shaping my life in the years to come. What I learned to be true over the years was that even an irrational fear is very real to the person experiencing it and has a way of encroaching into many areas of one’s life.  Left unchecked these fears can in extreme cases cause one to shut down on life or at least begin to live a life shackled by the pursuit of risk-free living.

Well, enter into the picture the young Massai girl with cloudy eyes…a young girl who by the way lives in a mud hut.  Her eyes were unable to close as a result of her eyelids being severely burned from a childhood accident.  Suffice it to say this was a gut-wrenching sight!  On the day my eyes found hers this precious young girl was coming in for surgery to have new eyelids formed so she could find life-changing relief from the simple act of closing her eyes.   As with all of the kids that came in for surgery this young girl valiantly walked to the operating room suite and willingly placed herself on the operating room table.  As my daughter and I did our best to keep her warm she waited patiently, her eyes darting about as she anticipated what might be next.  As I looked into her cloudy eyes I saw something eerily familiar…my childhood fears; those same fears that had captivated my mind so many times when I too found myself anticipating the impending surgeon’s knife.  Yet in the blink of my own mind’s eye I saw something else in those cloudy but beautiful eyes, something I had never seen before in myself…my courage.  Through the cloudy lens of a young African child some half way around the world I realized for the first time that I too must have had courage as a child.  In that split second the past became clear to me and that part of my life seemed to all make sense.  All of a sudden those lingering irrational fears were overtaken and overshadowed by the reality of courage.  All along the fears had been lying to me and clouding me from the truth of my own courage.  Do you find yourself at times living a life clouded by the lies that are so often written on our heart and our minds?  The truth is you too possess courage; the courage to see through the clouds to a life where you’ve been set free never again to be captured by the past.  Peace.