For a long time, I have been working diligently to not be defined by my past. I have told myself certain things don't matter, stuff happens and can never be unchanged. I have ignored others parts of my history that I know do matter. I have given them to God and just asked him to help me forget a lot of who I've been and where I've come from. And then I usually take it back and wallow in it for a while, then go back to ignoring it before giving it to him again. Who doesn't have this baggage? I've never met anyone who made it out of childhood unscathed. But this attempt to strip away what was has robbed me of seeing a lot of what drives me.
I let myself take a step back and walked back through a lot of my life over this past month. And I did remember major events, both good and bad, but I also started remembering small things that built my personality and character. These were things like arguing the need to give money to panhandlers in downtown Macon, saving up pocket change for months for the MDA telethon, being moved to tears by racial injustice from the 1st grade on, asking for our youth group to do World Vision's 30 hour famine and loving raising money for it even as shy as I was, and wanting to work with foster children.
I'm sure several things contributed to my more jaded outlook after becoming an adult, but one of them was probably working within social services and feeling absolutely helpless. The biggest contributor had to be my failure to seek God during the time when I started ignoring this passion to help others. Forget the "with all your heart" part, I wasn't seeking Him at all. But without me even realizing it, He has been softening my heart this past year. There's less of a naivety than there once was, but still an idealist that sees that things don't always have to be as they are today. There are those who would still call me naive, but I'm liking this outlook a lot better. And I now see how interconnected my memories are, that even people I would rather forget helped shape who I am. I'm grateful that "in all things God works for the good of those who love him".