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Tell Your Story in Freedom - Henri Nouwen

The years that lie behind you, with all their struggles and pains, will in time be
remembered only as the way that led to your new life. But as long as the new life is
not fully your, your memories will continue to cause you pain. When you keep
reliving painful events of the past, you can feel victimized by them. But there is a
way of telling your story that does not creat pain. Then, also the need to tell your
story will become less pressing. You will see that you are no longer there: the past is
gone, the pain has left you, you no longer have to go back and relive it, you no
longer depend on your past to identify yourself.

There are two ways of telling your story. One is to tell it compulsively and urgently,
to keep returning to it because you see your present suffering as the result of your
past experiences. But there is another way. You can tell your story from the place
where it no longer dominates you. You can speak about it with a certain distance
and see it as the way to your present freedom. The compulsion to tell your story is
gone. From the perspective of the life you now live and the distance you now have,
your past does not loom over you. It has lost its weight and can be remembered as
God's way of making you more compassionate and understanding toward others.