Living in the Past

The other day, while we were on a road trip, I said to my family, “I miss being a Primary teacher.”

Then my wife said, “And you also miss being the bishop, the elder’s quorum president, and Scoutmaster.”

And she was right. I have trouble with this. But it is interesting now that it is easier for me to let go of the difficult and regrettable things in my past than the good things. It wasn’t always that way.

I think until the time I was called as a bishop, I had a real tough time letting go of negative things in my past. I carried them around in an emotional backpack. But I can tell you the moment that all stopped. Really.

When I was called to be bishop, our stake president, President Kenneth Jones, held a letter in his left hand and said to me and my wife, “I have a letter here signed by President Gordon B. Hinckley authorizing me to call you to be bishop of the Mapleton 12th Ward.” It was a life changing moment for me. It was the moment that I stopped living in my I’m-not-good-enough past.

But since I was released as bishop, an interesting pattern arose, the pattern of living in my happy past.

Another thing my wife said to me recently is, “You often say things like ‘When I was bishop….'” She was right about that, too. I have to work consciously to let go of this. It’s not always easy.

It’s not that I want to be bishop again. Our new bishop is doing a wonderful job, and I often think to myself, “Why didn’t I think to do things that way?”

I feel very strongly that I was released at the right time. Within a few months, I collapsed physically. I’ve needed time to heal and recuperate. I am grateful that I’ve had that time.

And we’ve been enormously blessed since I was released. It was as if a huge wall of opposition was suddenly broken down. Since that time, I have been doing better physically and financially, more than I have in the last decade. I’ve never enjoyed a job as much as my current one. It has been amazing to see what has unfolded since I was released.

I still find myself living in the past, though. Not just when I was bishop, but I think almost daily about living on our family ranch when I was young, about when our children were young, day dreaming about the times when we used to be able to go on vacation as a family (we haven’t done that much in recent years). And on and on and on and on.

Anyway, will you help me? I need your advice. I’d love to hear from you about what I should do about this. I don’t have an answer. But maybe some of you inspired people who happen to be fasting today will have some advice for me.

As always, thank you for reading.

5 thoughts on “Living in the Past

  1. Dawn July 1, 2012 / 7:59 pm

    What comes to mind, is shifting living in the happy past (which there is certainly no harm there), to creating and envisioning that happiness into the future. So, that it just grows and grows and continues and continues.


  2. Mike Fitzgerald July 2, 2012 / 2:27 am

    Thank you, Dawn. I like that a lot. You are saying to expand your past into your future?


  3. Clint Carver July 3, 2012 / 4:29 pm

    Mike, maybe you felt some self worth being a bishop. Maybe you felt like you were serving in a greater capacity that you are now. Here is the secret, it comes from President Kimball, when you feel down and sad, go to “WORK”. Work/Service fixing everything. Try reaching out to those in need more, maybe your HT families need some more attention, try serving and I bet those past happy feelings will be replaced with current happy feelings.


  4. Mike Fitzgerald July 4, 2012 / 2:03 am

    You're right about that Clint. Thank you so much for advice. I need to do more of that.


  5. Christa-Ann January 21, 2013 / 11:38 pm

    Past, whether positive or negative is something akin to a dream…the reality is you only have now. While we may learn from our past, such as what brings pain and what brings joy, and we want to plan for the future in both positive and protective kind of ways, we want to live the moment to the fullest and we do this best by listening. Listening to our heart and to the Holy Ghost who truly has access to our information way into the past as well as our future, well beyond what we can see. If, our desire is a constant companionship with him, we will be living the moment in a manner that will bring us the greatest joy. This is my witness anyway. I have enjoyed the many posts of yours that I have reviewed this day and have subscribed to your blog. Thanks for the food for thought!! 🙂
    PS My journey continues and I see 2013 as a wonderful adventure! Thank you for your support as a writing coach in 2012!! Blessings to you and your family!


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