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I have always loved this song. And like so many of us, as a kid I had no idea what I was singing about, but the melody sure was nice. Now as an adult I can appreciate the words, along with the melody. I think of love, good and not so good relationships and how each one has uniquely impacted me. I ponder on what lessons I took away as the result of my divorce, my poor ability to truly communicate with my partner or our mutual agreement to part ways. I reflect on my mental and emotional state during that time? Did I feel broken, depressed or rejected? Did I own my feelings or attempt to pass them off as someone’s else’s fault? (I confess this was the case more often than not back then) However, with my personal desire to get better and to be better as my motivation, and my hope to experience real wholeness, along with much prayer, I challenged myself with several questions. These questions were often bounced off one or two close friends that were willing to tell me the truth in love, and sometimes even a trusted counselor. Most of my questions were actually statements that my friends would call me out on and cause me to look in the mirror. Painful, but ultimately very helpful. This was the process (my process) that inevitably helped me to grow. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing with the steps I took. I did indeed learn from them.
A friend that will swear to their own pain, is a true friend.
They say hindsight is 20-20, and if I knew 10% of what I know now about most things, my life would have taken a different course, at least I think so anyway. The million-dollar question is would my life be better having more knowledge without the experience or the wherewithal to know any better? Selah. I will say I believe our steps are perfectly ordered just as they are, poor decisions and all. That can be a hard pill to swallow when you consider all the jacked-up things that can happen in our lives, but I will qualify that statement with…you don’t know what you don’t know. Therefore, our choices are based on what we do know and what we attempt to understand through our faith, experiences, up bringing, etc., and even that does not guarantee we still won’t make poor choices, but we have to step out on something at some point.
When you reflect on the less memorable relationships you have been involved in, or after you have went through your own healing process, hopefully you can take away that all of it wasn’t in vain, additionally all of it wasn’t only your partner’s fault. Imagine that. Every bad relationship hopefully wasn’t COMPLETELY bad. Ultimately there should be something we can learn from the ugly stuff? If you say there is not, you are more likely to relive bad memories, even if you’re with a different person.
Life lessons must be learned or your past will indeed define your future.
Some of that which we wish to forget has equally and undeniably forged us and made us who we are today. It’s just a part of the cycle of life. Embrace what was meant for you to learn and move closer to the better you. If you don’t take responsibility at some point, you will live in a vicious cycle of pain, anger and regret, fruitlessly blaming others for your circumstances. From your parents to alleged soul-mates. I’m convinced we spend too much of our precious time studying, reflecting or listening to well-meaning friends on what we did wrong, who we did wrong or who wronged us. This is NOT the type of truth I have been referring to. There has to be balance with this. My point is get the lesson however you need to receive it, and move on! Otherwise become a professional recipient of pain, anger and regret. My counselor, Dr. Adams asked me a poignant question at the end of my sessions. He asked, “Henry what have you learned through all this? You can’t go through the amount of pain you did and not learn one thing that will prevent you from returning to my office for the same issue.” As much as he appreciated my business (as a paying customer), he was not seeking repeat clients, due to our perpetuation of the same problem. I was grateful for his therapeutic philosophy and followed suit, as I do today. My blog, as much as I enjoy writing, is a part of my continued therapy as well. It causes me to reflect on my thoughts regularly and keep them close as I share them with you. Additionally, it also helps me to remain accountable to them.
Another topic worth discussing is our negative thoughts and how they need no help getting inside our psyche. They find a way all their own to wake us up in the morning if we allow them to. They can flow off the lips of our best friends and haters with the greatest of ease. The question is how we choose to respond to them. It’s in those moments where, what we are and who we’re becoming falls in the balance. It’s no longer just about the strong words we declared, but the actions that follow these declarations. Will you get entangled in futile discussions about what you were or defy the naysayers with silence, and purposeful, authentic progression? The choice is truly ours.
My choice is to fly and rise above every negative thought!
So like the song states, let’s learn to fly again and ultimately soar like the eagle across the literal abyss of what held us down. The abyss of emotionally destructive decisions, self-perpetuated victimization, manipulative or controlling behaviors, impulsive attitudes, fear-laced thoughts and anger-infused decisions. Nothing positive has ever derived from these characteristics, actions or mindsets, only more pain. You can do more than you realize with broken wings, disappointment and even a broken heart. The great truth is you can heal from these when you choose a better path for yourself. You are more than the situation you are in. Figuratively (and possibly literally) you may have to walk with a limp for the rest of your life, in other words, some circumstances may have life long consequences, but don’t allow even that to become a crutch or an excuse to your progress. It’s always easier to quit, put forth no work and complain about why your life is so miserable. I’m sure you’re quite aware how that story ends and hopefully you are tired of those results.
Many years ago this song was just a set of words with a nice melody, but now as I have grown and matured, I get it. I will, “learn to fly again, learn to live so free”.