Staying bitter or moving forward is a choice

The journey back toward a stronger faith comes in flashes of moments and pain. Lately, its been on an arrow slicing through the air.

For me, the past reveals the wreckage of a war-torn heart from broken promises, dreams and who I’d thought I’d be and what reality is now.

In order to find a healthier self, it’s best to scrape up the good found in the wreckage and keep moving forward. At least that’s what I tried to do until a friend pointed out the wreckage as we dug through her garage looking for a red metal candlestick she swore was in there.

She pointed out the wreckage that I didn’t want to see for fear I’d trip over the bitterness.

“You can keep looking back and let the anger of what they said or acted or did fill you with bitterness, or you can walk forward. It’s a choice. And believe me, I’ve been the latter and have seen how it’s blinded lives,” she said straining to move a huge tote.

My thoughts mirrored hers. It’s best to face the day, eyes forward, not looking back.

Part of not looking back took us on a road trip to Idaho Springs, Colo. Here, I was able to forget work and home and the wounds. Here I was able to undress the bandages and let the wounds breathe as I inhaled deep the mountain air.

I could focus on the moment and look forward to what was ahead. This included a quaint jewelry shop Chris assured me was just a gimmick tourist shop, but in we went. We looked at the trinkets, river rock and fool’s gold. Bracelets and necklaces made of silver were framed under glass until one piece of silver caught my eye.

The store owner saw it, too.

“You’re ready to leave the past and face forward, I know it,” he said.

He measured my thumb before sliding on the silver ring. It wrapped around, its tip pointing one direction, the engraved feathers pointing the opposite.

Then he said something that made my heart freeze.

“Arrows are shot from the past. They’re pulled from they past, and then they launch moving forward with agility and precision into the future. There’s no looking back,” he said as he gently held my hand and looked me in the eye.

Startled, I wondered if he could see my secrets, my regrets and hurts. I whispered some sort of thank you as my husband paid for the ring and ushered us out of this little shop on the corner of a street in Idaho Springs.

The shop owner’s words stayed with me and rolled around in my head that night. How could he say something that hit the inner recesses of my heart? Call it a sales ploy, but it worked for me.

The ring still circles on my finger, and so far I fiddle with it when I’m writing or scribbling new ideas for HT Living or when I get nervous, or most often, when I’m left out. I find my fingers turning the ring in circles.

Strangely enough, it reminds me to keep going forward.

“No looking back” it says. I think each arrow of mine needs to make its mark.

One recent evening as the sun set, I took my compound bow to the archery range where my family and I were taking turns with our bows. Of the dozens of neon pink and green arrows in my quiver, many missed the mark because of tremblings hands from trembling thoughts.

My husband came up behind because he knows about the swirling storm of thoughts in my head and whispered, “Breathe in, out and let go.”

Finally, with one breath out, my pink arrow sliced through the air and made its mark at dead center 50 yards away. Over and over I made the same shot until the stars came out.

It taught me this: When I pull the arrow back, it reminds me of challenges, negative feelings and life that drags me back. But once I release an arrow, it launches itself straight ahead toward something new, a better version of whatever that may be.

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