This morning, I am thinking about what has been. I am thinking about what has been in the light of what is now.
It is, surprisingly, not making me feel sad.
When I look at what has been, all by itself, I typically feel a wave of grief. I can look behind at my footprints and see that there are so many tears about so many things. I can find myself falling back into those footprints, wishing I could change them. Or, at the very least, make them more palatable. That isn't the way footprints are though. You can't erase them, or turn them in another direction without messing up the rest of the journey. So, as I look at my footprints, I found myself realizing that it was those very steps that have led me to now.
I found myself feeling...grateful. Yeah. I said it. Grateful.
I started thinking this way because my on and off again boyfriend of middle school years found me on facebook. I had to smile, because this boy was one of my happy memories of the past. I remember... I remember him passing me a note in Mr. Mormon's class in 6th grade. I was new to the school, and had pretty low self esteem after my torture from a particularly mean girl in the school I'd been in previously. He passed me a note. It simply said..."I think you're cute."
Harmless enough, but...being the silly fool I was at the time, I thought he was making fun of me because I knew without a doubt that I was everything BUT cute. I ran out of the classroom in tears because I was horrified that this very cute boy was making fun of me. I wasn't cute. I was ugly. I was fat. I was stupid. I was....worthless. I cried and cried until another girl came out of the classroom onto the field to console me. She assured me that I was cute, and that if this boy, whom she also agreed was as cute as I'd thought, said I was cute, he meant it! I was elated! Have you ever seen Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer? The old one...with the fur-mation and the snow monster? The scene when Rudolph leaps into the air, flying better than all the reindeer because the girl reindeer tells him he's cute? Well...that was me. All because of being given a letter (a confirmed one at that!) that said I was cute. He became my boyfriend, and gave me my first kiss. Of course, we were kids, and we broke up, he went with my best friend, they broke up, we got back together, we broke up, we got back together...and then, he met another girl. A girl whom he married. I remember her...she was sweet, pretty, and smart. They were perfect for each other. Everyone agreed about that fact. When he told me he'd married his high school sweetheart, I was elated! It was meant to be. It was perfect.
I saw our footprints of the past join happily, and then move apart to join other footprints. Just as it needed to be to bring me to my husband. Had I stayed with my 6th grade crush, the first boy to tell me I was cute, well...I wouldn't have my husband. I wouldn't have this life.
I saw my footprints join with the wonderful man whom I love with every fiber of my being. I saw tiny foot prints walking beside us. I saw tears in some of the deeper prints and sparkles in others. The most recent footprints are filled with the light of rainbows. Deep, sturdy prints are these. No mistaking that these prints have been taken with determination. With purpose.
I walk more carefully now-a-days. I'm not as flitting and fleeting as I was once upon a time. I feel like I know where I am going, though I can't chart the course on a map of any kind. As I make new footprints, I realize that the past has made the present and the two combined will make the future. We all carry baggage with us on our journeys through life. One of the things I carry in my pocket is a little note with the penciled scrawl of a boy who gave me back my self esteem. The boy who first told me I was cute. And meant it.
If it wasn't for him, I might have never known that.
I might have believed a lie told by a mean girl instead.
To all the people of the past...to all the things that have been...To all the smiles, and all the tears...to all the loss and all the gain...