Because of our yesterdays…
When I think back to the kind of ‘loskop’* child I was – my head always on some cloud daydreaming or in wild flights of fantasy, imagining a world where what I read in storybooks was real, and growing up with my dad who would move the earth for me and did so many times – I wonder that I didn’t grow up with a more skewed world view. The world in my head was like a safety blanket. In a good way, but it also ‘protected’ me from the evils of reality and responsibility: I lost things (sometimes valuable and precious things and in my early school years I couldn’t be bothered to attend classes and although my marks were always good I was called to the principal’s office and disciplined for playing hookie).
I didn’t have what most people would consider a happy childhood (i.e. having lots of friends, a happy and secure family and not having to worry about money), but in a way that I never realised until now, it was like a golden dream-time. Despite moving house sometimes up to 3 times a year, parents who fought and never had a stable job since I could walk, never even owned a car, being the charity case in school that everyone knew didn’t pay school fees, having to help support the family alongside my brother in our late teens when the family lived in a little 2-bedroom flat, having chickenpox and building towers of cards when we lived in a one bedroom servant’s quarters in primary school, walking to school because there was no other way to get there, going to live with friends for a term for some reprieve from all this, another time living with a family who took us in to make them look good in church but treated us like rubbish… we had it hard.
Everyone does in some way or other I guess. We all get the trials we must face. But looking back now it seems like a dream.
How could we have gone through all that and turned out the way we did, my brother and I? I suppose that is always the great mystery of karma and the universe right? The same experience can make one person stronger while it totally breaks another. And then I remember a wonderful lesson from my great teacher – that most of who we are and what we experience is not because of today, but because of our yesterdays (past lives, karmic journey, call it what you will…). And so I can’t look at the decisions of others and judge them. I can wonder, yes, but I don’t know what drives them. I don’t know their yesterdays. I can barely get a sense of my own. And I’ve made poor decisions too, despite the lessons my yesterdays have taught me. Every day is another opportunity to learn and hopefully to grow… to let my every tomorrow be better than today and yesterday.
PS – Note to self: Do not listen to Celtic Woman when posting things like this. Unbidden tears abound.
*closest English translation is probably ‘flighty’, but the Afrikaans says it so beautifully, like your head is detached :-)