“The past is frozen and no longer flows, and the present is all lit up with eternal rays.” C.S. Lewis

This time of year is full of anticipation. Last year is gone, with all its joys and sorrows, triumphs and disasters, successes and failures. This year is ahead, no one quite sure what it has in store. For some, that thought is completely terrifying, for others, completely exciting, but for all, it’s a reality, and forward is the only way we can go.

I’ve been doing a massive clear out of my room at my dad’s house this week. One of those clear outs that, half an hour into it, sitting in a pile of books you haven’t read for 15 years, necklaces that have been tangled for 10 years, pens that haven’t written for five years, tubes of hand cream that only have a drop left in them, and an Ulster Rugby calendar from 2005 (true story), you wonder why you ever thought it was a good idea at all.

Good news is, I persevered and I can now once again see my floor. It was an interesting process. We moved to this house when I was seven years old, though I haven’t lived in it for eight years. Each box I opened seemed to contain some form of long forgotten memory: a photo of a friend I haven’t seen since school, letters from the other side of the world, souvenirs from trips to California and South Africa, somewhat embarrassing journals started when I was 17. I was surprised at the emotions those things brought up. Laughter, sadness, wistfulness, even some inspiration.

Case in point: my teddy, Rabbit – you can tell I was good at making up original names for my teddies. I’ve just thrown Rabbit out, but despite that fact he was falling apart, it wasn’t easy to do. You see, Rabbit and I first met when I was nine and in hospital. I spent 10 days in a little ward with a broken foot and an infection that no amount of specialists could quite work out. It was a stressful time for me and my family. And into that stressful time came Rabbit, like a large, fluffy security blanket, making a horrible time a little bit easier.

It’s difficult to let go of things that were once important, but, the thing is, often those things are only important for a time, after which – and I’m sorry if this sounds harsh – they just start to take up unnecessary space (sorry Rabbit), whether that’s space in a cupboard that needs to be cleared for shoes or space in your mind that needs to be cleared for growth. Not everything that was helpful in the past is helpful in the present. Not everything that was good in the past is good in the present. And sometimes, in order to be fully in the present, the old things, the old thoughts, the old feelings, maybe even some of the old people, need to be let go.

The ‘frozen past’ can stop us from moving forward, from experiencing the ‘eternal rays’ of the present. Maybe it’s time to stop being frozen and start soaking up those rays.

Happy New Year… I hope it’s your best yet!

Written by Pip McCracken

After six years working as a physio in New Zealand, Pip has recently returned to Belfast, where she works for Christian Aid (a minor career change!) She is the author of Speed Bumps and Roundabouts, which is less about traffic calming measures and more about life.

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