I made my own time capsule. I placed reminders of what I thought were the most important events in my life, at least up to that point. I didn’t know when it would be dug up again or what response the contents would elicit. Would what seemed so important, seem unimportant? Would what appeared to be life altering and world shaping be no more than things that happened a long time ago?
I dug up my own time capsule soon after I buried it.
I know it isn’t the way it was supposed to be. I wasn’t trying to change tradition I just wanted to add a few more things that seemed just as important if not more important than the reminders it already contained. I promptly buried it again, well I did take a little time to thumb through the previous reminders I had put in it the first time, but then I buried it. I promised myself that I would not dig it up again, that I would leave it where I put it.
I was not done digging up my time capsule.
I couldn’t stop digging it up. I knew what was in the capsule but I had this uncontrollable urge to look at it in more detail, to study each item from the past and to spend time reliving each life changing event. I know that a time capsule is supposed to be left for a long period of time but somehow I couldn’t stop.
I would repeat this process over and over again. Sometimes it would be months apart other times only days. Sometimes I would dig it up and only take a quick look and then bury it again. Other times I would dig it up and look through its contents over and over again before finally burying it. Each time I would bury it deeper hoping it would deter me from digging it up again.
I finally realized burying the past wasn’t working.
Why was it so important for me to keep digging it up? What was so important that I had to keep burying it? I couldn’t go on this way but I couldn’t imagine going on any other way. This wasn’t working but I couldn’t just stop. I needed something to replace it, some way to deal with this capsule of regrets and unaddressed situations but what would replace my coping mechanism that I had perfected over the years?
Maybe I needed to accept there was little I could have done.
It wasn’t my fault, at least that’s what people told me. What happened shouldn’t have happened to an adult let alone a young person or a child. Still, I should have done something, I should have made better choices, I should have listened to the warnings and the rules the adults gave me for my protection but I didn’t. The if onlys, the should haves, the could haves, the better choices lead to better outcomes, all bounce around my head until I get out my time capsule, stuff it full of the memories and bury it as deep as I can.
Maybe I needed to accept that there were things I could have done.
Just because what happened shouldn’t have happened to an adult let alone a young person or a child doesn’t mean that the things I should have avoided doing were suddenly wiped out. The consequences of not listening to the warnings and not following the rules should have been minor. It was those who took advantage of the missteps that made it worse. Then suddenly the if onlys, the should haves, the could haves, the better choices lead to better outcomes, start to bounce around my head until I get out my time capsule, stuff it full of memories and bury it as deep as I can.
I bury my time capsule because of guilt.
It’s time I dig up that time capsule never to bury it again. I am responsible for my missteps, my rebellion against the warnings and rules put in place by the adults in charge of me. My missteps would have been just that, missteps. I did not deserve nor did I invite the actions of those who hurt me and therefore they, not me, bear that guilt.
I can take my missteps before God and ask for forgiveness. My guilt is once and for all taken away. There is no longer a need to bury the past because I no longer bear any guilt. What I could have done, what I should have done no longer has a hold on me.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus Romans 8:1 (NIV)