Mrs. “P” was a big-boned woman. She was my second-grade teacher. When Mrs. “P” came roaring down the hallway in her knee-high, white, leather boots — our class would scurry to our seats before her wrath was unleashed on a bunch of squirrely eight-year-olds.
On one particular day, Mrs. “P” spanked each person in our class. I believe it was a few noodle heads in the back of the room who garnered punishment for the entire lot. I can remember shaking in my Sears Roebuck jeans as she slowly, methodically made her way to my desk. My tiny butt was shaking and then aching as I received two whacks from Mrs. “P’s” infamous wooden paddle. It had holes bored in it. Rumor had it that Mrs. “P” drilled holes in her paddle to alleviate any aerodynamic drag as she swung for the posterior fences.
What I mostly remember is when Mrs. “P” put George in the trash can. George was about two feet taller than most of us, and about three grades behind. In today’s vernacular, George would have been considered a challenged learner. Slow. Special needs. He was, perhaps, ADHD or ADD before there was such a thing. George never had pills or therapy; he was just considered retarded. That was the very harsh verbiage used in 1968.
George knew he was retarded. He accepted his label. I guess he’d grown accustomed to his given identity. “I’m sorry, Mrs. ‘P’—I can’t help myself. I’m just ‘tarded,” George would bellow.
Standing in the trash can, George blushed and shrugged his shoulders as the whole classroom filled with laughter. He stood in the corner of the room, just beneath the flag for what seemed the entire day. Later that day, he sat alone at lunch.
All of this was some 50 years ago, and yet it can be relived in the theater of my mind like it was just yesterday. The past can have such a powerful effect on our lives.
There are some things in the past that we get stuck on. Divorce, a death, poor decisions, financial struggles, relational rifts are but a few ways our history can continue to impact our present and future. How do you know if your past is NOT really in the past?
1. Your joy is limited to a few happy circumstances.
2. Relationships are a struggle to maintain or build.
3. Sleep can be a lost commodity.
4. Prayer seems to hit the ceiling and drop back to the floor.
5. God feels so very distant as does much of life.
This Sunday we’ll be in Joshua chapter five. The Israelites are ready to kick butt and take over the Promised Land. God has other ideas first. Before His people can march into a bright future, there is a past that must be dealt with. It’s so intriguing and practical what God does.
Perhaps you need to deal with your past before you can move on. If so, Sunday is going to be very relevant to your life. Think about someone to bring with you. I’m confident every counseling appointment has attached to it something about the past. It seems the past plagues just about everyone in some way or another.
Let’s get together this almost-holiday weekend. I’ll look forward to seeing you at either 9:00 or 11:00 a.m. Let’s move the past into the past — once and for all, with Jesus’ great help!
Blessings & Love My Friends,
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