Since late 2006, I’ve saved many of the written conversations/emails I’ve had with people online. I did this, in part, because I wanted to be able to keep up with it all, helping in my being able to respond. But I also just wanted to keep a record of things that was said so that I wouldn’t forget. I’ve always thought of emails as letters, so this just sort of made sense to do anyway—I’ve rarely ever thrown a real letter away, and that goes for birthday and holiday cards as well.
A few nights ago, I went back and began reading through some of those older emails. I read things I’d completely forgot about, and even from people I’d forgot about. I saw at times how clueless I’d been about certain things, how arrogant I was, or selfish. At other times, I saw the complete opposite of that. I saw the frustrations, worry, anger, joy, and excitement of others. I saw that of myself, too. I saw victories and downfalls. I saw how weak and yet how very strong people, including myself, can be at times. I saw how desperate we all are for intimacy, affection, friendship, and love. I saw how much we all seek the truth. I saw this even from those who’d hated, belittled, and disagreed with me so strongly as to wish me dead. Yes, even those people were in search of the truth. I may not have seen it at the time, but looking back, I can see it now. In all of it, though, I saw just how far I’ve traveled in life. I saw how much I’ve grown as a person, and how much others have grown as well.
Afterward, I felt such a great sense of humility. We are all so much the same. We’re all just trying to figure out how to deal with life and make life the best we can. Some of us stumble along the way, get confused, or get sidetracked, but it is all still in the pursuit of doing what we think is best.
I’ve often been told that looking back is a bad thing. Maybe at times it is, but I think at other times it isn’t. I’m glad I went back and read through so many of those emails though. It helped me feel reconnected with people in a way that I can only describe as awe-inspiring. It reminded me just how great and how many friendships I’ve developed over the last few years. And it helped me see where I began, and just how I got to be where I’m at right now.
I titled this blog Afterthoughts on a Whirlwind Journey. I’ve questioned that decision many times, but after having read those emails the other night, I see how completely appropriate it was. We are all on a journey. And sometimes it really is good to look back, if for nothing more than to see just how far we’ve come in life.