We would be nothing without the experiences that form us. Both the good and the bad etch themselves into how we see and feel the world. If we are lucky, work hard and learn our lessons then, hopefully, the good outweigh the bad. We learn that the world is an exciting but also a dangerous place. Certainly most of us have had our fingers burnt at some time or another. That is, bad things have happened to us during our lives.
They range from the physical scars we bear from cuts, breaks, illnesses and diseases that strike us down sometimes without warning. They are the accidents from simply falling over or from going head to head with a car. They are the psychological scars from tragedies such as bereavement or divorce. We often say that given time, we will recover. We will get better. Things will improve. Time, we say is a great healer.
Time itself though if we think about it, is indifferent to our various crises and celebrations. Time, we seem to have universally agreed is a unit measuring the distance between two events. The hours, weeks, months and years themselves do not do anything. It is how we fill our time that makes it productive, or wastes it. Different people in the same period of time will do very different things. One might write a masterpiece, another might embroider a quilt. One might do nothing but watch TV. The same amount of time has passed but with very different results. It is up to us to give the time value and meaning.
When we suffer an injury, we know that as humans, we will repair to a certain extent over a period of time. A bone that is broken will set, and a cut will heal over and scar. Yet time alone does not do everything. Isn't it true that a bone needs to be reset properly? Isn't it true that a cut needs to be disinfected? If infection sets in, the only thing that time will do is cause more pain with, possibly, more serious consequences.
Before we get too hard on poor old time surely we should examine this from the point of view of the spirit of the saying. After all what we are suggesting is that the longer we are from a painful incident in our lives, the less painful and raw it will be. Even the cynic must agree, that a period of time changes perspective on many events in our lives. When we have clamed down and distanced ourselves often we find our initial reaction hard to understand.
Then again many who have experienced trauma such abuse, divorce, or betrayal will testify to the fact that years later, nothing has changed. Victims of abuse carry the scars and effects of their trauma for years and even lifetimes after an event that happens in childhood. Who could say the mothers and families of the "disappeared" will feel better in time? What does time do for the families of those who are abducted and murdered?
Yet all of these people in some way or another are seeking closure. They want to be able to put the abuse behind them. They want to be able to bury their family members. They want to see those responsible brought to justice. They will not forget but they will be able to get on with their lives. For these people however as sad and tragic as these events can be: time has clearly not moved on. They are still living the events of a particular terrible period in their lives. That particular time has, in essence, stayed still.
Some victims find coming to terms with their abuse and their abusers so traumatic that they seek refuge in substance abuse in order to block these things out. Years later, seeking help, removed from the blocking effects of the alcohol or drugs, the abuse rises again to the surface. Time, can only heal if we help it. What is important is what we do with or in that period of time.
We have to find a way to move on from that event. Whatever the incident is, be it a mugging, accident, betrayal or abuse, if we are still there in our minds, it is as if no time has passed. Daily we are reliving the same day or period of our lives. In some way we have an imprint indelibly left in our minds. Some are able to accept the hurt and move forwards. They get back on the horse so to speak, or they find something else to occupy their minds with. They move to a different time and yes the vitriol in even the most heated and hateful of arguments does seem to lessen with time, even if the pain remains.
How many times have you apologised for something you said in the heat of the moment? At the time you were angry, but now you feel you have calmed down. Time has passed and by apologising you have in a sense moved with it. With your apology accepted, everyone moves forward. Yet if you had not apologised, you might still be turning it over and over in your head. You would be reliving the day until the moment when you "make good" what has been damaged. Then and only then can we move on.
Isn't it true to say then that those who can heal or move on along with time, get better? Of course it is! If the world is full of one thing, it is survivors. This is not to say we don't bear the scars and have flashback to that time. Can you honestly say you haven't reddened at the though of some past indiscretion now long gone?
One way to stay firmly locked into an awful time, is to stay miserable and complain about how unfair life is. There are those who let the whole event organise and run their livers. They become a shell host for the unpleasant past. They are unable to talk about or to be anything else. The resulting feelings of unfairness and bitterness continually rub them until they etch their way into them. These people are not only stuck in the past, they won't move forward and let time help them. They keep thinking about how awful it was and relive the same moment over and over.
Surely if time can offer us the present and the now, which is far removed in distance from the event, then we should grab it with both hands. We should say, "Hold on there time, this time, we're coming with you'. This is not always as easy as it seems. Removing yourself from being a victim and forever tied to the perpetrator or incident is difficult. It is more so the longer you have let these feelings become you. Many people need and use professional help, therapy and counselling to try and deal with their feelings.
The fact remains that we need to move on. In doing so we heal and in leaving that time behind we can begin to thrive in the time that is now. In order to do so it may be necessary to get things out into the open, to find a way to talk through the past. This is not denying these things happened, it is affirming however that you are not just that person in that moment in time. It is affirming that you are more, that you are released.
Some people go on for years not understanding how to move into the 'now' time. Dealing with the issues is like sterilising the cut. It treats the wound so time can heal. Once this is achieved, the injury recedes into the past. You may always hurt. You may always bear the scar of that time but through time and the now, you will know that there is more to you than that. The moments from the past won't matter. Who you are now is a different person and time, yes time can do that, but only if move with it.