More than once I left something on the bench or behind the backstop of a ball field. Sometimes it was something really important, like my wallet or my car keys or my ball glove or an expensive bat. Truth be told there was no telling what I might leave behind by accident. One time I left my cell phone; that was a rough one. I was thinking recently of all the times I left something of value behind. Sometimes I would be in a hurry and rush off leaving something only to remember it later. Other times I’d get distracted in the process of packing up and next you know I’d forget to pick up something I fully intended to take with me. Sometimes I’d leave little reminders in my head or around me so they could serve as a trigger to refresh my memory. Sometimes that little trick worked, other times it made no difference. Once I realized I’d left something of value behind I’d light up like a fire cracker and rush back to see if someone had found it or even saved it for me to come and get. More often than not it was a lost cause and whatever was left was gone forever. I did find the cell phone though.
On one hand, I think of all the things I need to leave behind me in life, things like resentments, bad feelings, hurts, words said which shouldn’t have been said and lots of other baggage from the past. When I start remembering or conjuring up something that someone said twenty years ago that really hurt the hurt just starts festering all over again and I’m not the better for it. It’s way too easy for us to hold on to negative things out of the past or to remember the hurts and pains from yesterday. And too little gain.
On the other hand I think of the things that I’ve left behind which serve me well to go back and pick up and take with me. I can’t afford to and I don’t want to leave positive things behind. I don’t want to leave comments which lifted me up or helped me feel better about myself and challenged me to improve or somehow made me a better person. And, if I have somehow walked off and left these positive and supportive things, I definitely want to go back and get them.
Can you remember the good things and let go of the bad things? Can you recall and build anew on the positive boosts people have given you in the past? Can you reach back into your memory and remember the kind and helpful things people have said to you? It’s well worth your while to go back and get good things left in the past and not bother with the bad things. We all get to choose which we want to go back and pick up again if we somehow forgot them and which we want to leave in the past.
What is it you are choosing to leave behind and forget and what you are choosing to go back and pick up again? One of life’s most important skills for us to acquire is the ability to leave the negative things and negative remembrances back in the past and forget them. At the very least we need to leave some things lying on the bench and never go back to look for them.