The Past is a Dangerous Place

True or False? The theme has been so strong in my day that I have to write for both sides of this statement….for and against.

I’ll start with False.

This morning our church hosted “A Taste of Heaven” celebration. The service was full of the rich languages and cultures represented in our community. The same verse Revelations 7:9-10 was read in many languages. God is so Good was sung in Hungarian. It was a very beautiful service. It was a taste of what heaven will be like. After the service we ate. There was so much food from so many countries. Some people wore traditional clothing from their culture or heritage. We all learned so much and tasted so many new foods as we listened to the memories and pride that people take in the countries that they or their families came to Canada from. There were so many smiles and happy memories that were being pulled to the front of our minds. Good memories. Most people have them. Some of us have been blessed with a catalogue of wonderful memories to choose from.

Even if the memories are sad or painful ones, they are still important for learning and growth. I hate listening to stories of war. But I know how important it is to listen to them, listen to the survivors, learn about what went wrong to prevent mistakes of the past. If we never speak our painful pasts or spend time in the painful memories, we can’t really begin to heal or grow.

Now, I’ll tell you why this title statement is True.

During this same lunch full of joy, I sat with a lady I had never talked to. We exchanged the typical introductions and then the “are all those your kids?” question inevitably enters the conversation. To which I reply that we foster and adopt along with our 3 biological kids. She then tells me a story of a sweet girl that she almost adopted. The child ended up going back to family but I could hear the love she had for her still in her heart and the sadness that talking about her story brought up. “I don’t open that box very often,” she stated. “It’s too painful”. There you have it. The raw truth about why the past is so dangerous. It can be very painful to think about old pain and bring to the surface wounds that have been pushed deep below. Some memories are so painful our minds won’t allow us to open them for many years. We chatted some more and I mingled and talked with another woman. We started talking about how amazing it was that so many cultures were represented and she talked about being adopted herself and how that is always a point that is front and center on days like this for people who have adoption as part of their journey. I had multiple adopted children with me this morning she shared some of her story and thoughts on fostering and adopting. With tears in her eyes she shared how her birth mother had never tried to meet her and never talked about her to other family. This woman wondered aloud how anyone could do that; not talk about giving up a child for adoption. Immediately the wise words of the first woman I spoke with came into my head…..” I don’t open that box too often, it’s too painful.” A look of clarity came across the woman’s face and I could see that the words of the first woman were encouraging to her in her journey of understanding her birth mother’s pain and choices.

None of that was coincidence. God directed these two women to me and I was just a middle man who can understand both of their journeys and pain. God does all the healing and coordinating. Amazing.

To end off my day, I watched an episode of FBI International. I happen to be going through the whole series on Prime Video. And you’ll never guess what the episode I was on today was about and the exact words one actor says…You guessed it!…..”The Past is a Dangerous Place”. The whole episode was about the sins of the past and how it affects different characters. After such an impactful, pain themed day, I knew it was time to start writing again about my own pain. I hope to have the strength to share about our journey of pain over the last year. You’ll get an idea as to why I have been silent for so long. I know that today was my kick in the pants to keep talking about fostering and adoption no matter how painful because that is how we heal, learn, grow, and encourage others.



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