Cast Yesterday into the Deep
I stood at the top of the hill taking in the view. The air was heavy with the scent of salt-water. The late afternoon sunlight painted the water a silvery-blue; diamond-like sparkles danced on the rolling surf. Two decades had gone by since I had been to this place; little had changed.
My family moved from Hawaii the week after my high-school graduation. I was back in town for my 20th class reunion. After three full days of busy, my friend and I finally made it to the beach where we had literally spent most of our high school days.
Happy memories crowded my mind. Lazy days laying on the warm, coarse sand. Drying salt water tickling my skin. The fragrance of coconut suntan oil. Listening to the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and The Beach Boys on my pocket-size transistor radio. Salt-water and sun-induced naps. Countless conversations with my besties. Giggles. Tear-producing, side-cramping, snorting laughter. Whispered dreams. Comfortable silence.
Unexpectedly, emotions swamped my memory-feed with such intensity that I lost my breath. Hard times had often sent me running to the beach, seeking solace for my troubled teenaged heart, and where my tears were free to flow. In that moment, I was 16 and consumed with disappointment, frustration, heartache, insecurity, desperation, anxiety and loneliness. The salty water had been made saltier by my countless tears. Yesterday was so close…the painful hurts of adolescence floated nearby on the water’s surface. Suddenly, I became vividly aware that I was drowning from the weight of my fractured adolescent dreams, unfulfilled expectations and tainted perceptions.
“Cast yesterday into the deep.”
I gasped. While not audible, the Voice in the depth of my spirit was deafening.
I watched the waves ebb and flow and I pondered the Lord’s command. Somehow I knew that “casting my yesterdays into the deep” did not mean forgetting my past. It meant filtering my memories, both good and bad, through God’s truth. If the memory was healthy, constructive to my spiritual growth, edifying and pleasing to God, then it was safe to keep. I needed to cast away the memories that weighed me down: the tainted perceptions that fueled destructive self-talk; the unfulfilled expectations that were unending stumbling blocks; and the disappointment of fractured dreams that discouraged me from dreaming new dreams.
I clinched my eyes closed and gathered my hurtful memories. I opened my eyes and, with all my mind’s strength, hurled them into the Pacific. I stood quietly, waiting…for what, I am not sure. I watched and listened to the waves crest, curl and crash on the shore. I scanned the far horizon to where my imaginary throw had landed my collective hurts: into the midst of the deep waters. Far away. Out of reach. Now rendered powerless.
All too soon, the sun slipped behind the Koo’lau Mountains. The air was still heavy with the scent of salt-water. The dusky evening sky was blurring the lines of the horizon; the mountains, sky and water were almost indistinguishable from one another.
I took one last look at the beautiful, familiar view. I was grateful that little had changed since my adolescence. Yet, I was even more grateful for the change the Lord had just made in me.
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;
but one thing I do; forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
~ Philippians 3:13-14