It was my best friend yet it was my “enemy”! It was my best friend because it held some basic essentials for life – my water and my food. Yes, it also had other things like my tent, my clothes, my shovel and a few toiletries – things I could enjoy to make life just a little bit easier.
A couple of posts ago I shared about my life in the army and about that wretched backpack!
Well, I want to share about that backpack…
Without my water and food I would not last long marching for hours every day. I could go without changing my clothes, sleep without my tent, not bother with my toiletries and even not use my shovel! Why did I bother to bring them? Because I thought it was what I was supposed to do? Because I didn’t want to get caught out, wishing later I had brought them? My motto was always be prepared so I tried to pack my backpack accordingly. Or was it simply because I wanted to be able to enjoy these few items of “luxury”?
It was like my best friend for it went with me wherever I went! It’s amazing how heavy a backpack can feel when you’ve been carrying it for a week with no respite? Dude, the aches and pains that followed me everywhere I went – as long I had my backpack on! This is why it was also my enemy.
It was actually quite strange for me for there were times when we had to leave our backpacks behind as we engaged in some warfare tactics or simply went for a hike to explore our surroundings. It was strange because I had become so used to carrying my backpack.
It got me thinking about the things in my own life I like to carry around with me – my memories, mainly.
Okay, let’s face it – I’m a hoarder!! I love collecting things and I hate getting rid of them just in case… Just in case I might need it later down the track. Inevitably, every time I throw something out I want it a week later, or just a couple of days later.
Ever have that problem?
But, it’s the memories that either weigh me down or cheer me up. Dealing with those memories that do weigh me down is what is hard to deal with.
I have so many fond memories: swimming in piranha infested rivers, hiking through the jungles, rock climbing, climbing so high up in the mountains that you are above the clouds, camping with my family & singing silly songs, taking my wife back to Bolivia and showing her all the places I had grown up in, seeing my children all grow up and two getting married, having a grandchild, and so on…
Sometimes I like to go down memory lane and simply enjoy all those good times, those fun times.
What I often find hard though is dealing with the “sad” memories, like having to say goodbye to our children as they graduated and returned to Australia, not being around to see our granddaughter growing up, not being able to be there for when our kids go through a tough time, or not being able to be there to support my ageing mother, not being able to hang out with my good mates…
You see, it’s these types of “memories” that I find hard to deal with because they don’t require me to seek forgiveness or to release forgiveness. They are not part of my painful past (which I seem to have to keep working through) but they are none the less a very real part of my life.
The truth is, living in Thailand can be tough sometimes – because I cannot always do the things I want to do, like visiting and spending time with my kids, helping my mum or just hanging out with my mates. But I realise that this is life. It’s all a part of growing up. It’s also part of the cost of being obedient to the call to live here in Thailand.
I carry all these things in the backpack of my life and all these memories help to remind me of one very important thing – the importance of family, of relationships. Nurturing them, spending time to cultivate them is what I want to be better at.
I’m actually much more grateful now for my backpack. Those sad memories do help me to be grateful for what I have had and for what I have. I am not resentful at all for what I have had to “give up” for what I have gained has grown me, matured me and I believe have made me a much better person.
I try not to spend too such time thinking about those sad memories because the “aches” in my back can tend to become too much for me. I am choosing to remember those good times and be grateful that I am called to be here and that I was given those things I now miss for a short time and that while I had them they were a source of great enjoyment for me.
Wherever you are at in your journey of life may you appreciate more and more those good memories as well as the sad memories that you carry around in your backpack of life.
This post is dedicated to my wonderful children (Luke & Pe, Jaci, Zac & Michelle, & Caleb) as well as my incredible wife Penny and my ever loving mother Helen.