As we learn to re-shape our stories, by going back over them many times, they certainly do take on new meaning.
Gelder suggests that it is good to either go back to the place where something meaningful happened or to try to re-create that place in our minds. Either way can help us to see and feel the story in a different way. Each time we go back, we are able to do this. As we mature and get older and wiser, the feelings eventually can change, as well. Partly because we may be able to increasingly separate from that moment and its feelings. Or from a place and the feelings it evokes.
Several years ago, I took my husband back to see the house where my family and I lived when I was in high school. It was a joyous time in many ways. For I loved school there and had some wonderful teachers. A few good friends that helped me understand myself and begin to blossom, too. It was in the church there that I began to recognize and develop some of my unique strengths and abilities.
It was also a very sad time in some ways--like so many things in life, there were strong contrasts. My mother was quite ill when I was in high school. The lot of being the "mother" to my much younger siblings fell to me. It was a role I really did not mind or resent back then, but I have since come to realize how much my mother's illness robbed me of much of my adolescence while it taught me coping skills and self-esteem that have continued to come in very handy throughout my life. Only as an adult, looking back on the story, have I gotten in touch with my fears and sadness that often clouded the brightness of those days. The canvas on which life was painted had many colors in those years, and the picture was certainly unique--one of those stories that is very hard to capture in words.
As an adult, I've always seen that house where we lived as a large and luxurious home. Truth is it was, compared to all the other places we had lived. The others had been older and more on the humble side, though my mother and I were quick to make them colorful and homey as soon as we could after moving in to each place.
Somehow this place in Ardmore, Oklahoma was far from the sprawling place I remembered, however. Time had re-shaped my ideas and opinions about what constitutes luxury. It was quite small, in fact. The beautiful brick was no longer so pretty. The one-car garage didn't look up-to-date at all. Certainly no longer a place of luxury. It even needed a paint job.
Going back allowed me to revisit the house, but more importantly the sounds and feelings of some of the stories that have helped make me into the person I am today.
What places do you possibly need to revisit?