I want you to imagine there is a rope in your hands
This rope represents your past,
and just for a moment
I want you to clench it with your fists
cling to it like nothing else in the world exists
except this

For some of you, the rope represents
a time of success
of less stress
a life that wasn’t cluttered by mess
a younger you with fewer sins to confess
it might represent
a version of yourself that was actually content
a version of you that felt beautiful
that felt desirable
for some of you to cling to this rope is to cling to glory
it holds all the climactic chapters of your story
and now your life is but a spiral of falling action
passionless moments
void of satisfaction

For some of you this rope represents
that deep, pit of your stomach shame
that swallows you, gnaws, guts and hollows you
it represents the chance you didn’t take
or that one, big mistake
that you feel like you owe your life to
that will forever hold you in debt
and the only way to repay
is by way of regret
it represents the failures that haunt you
as you lie awake in bed exhausted but
unable to sleep for the guilt
that plagues your weary head

For some of you this rope represents
excruciating pain,
the kind that you feel like nobody could understand
the kind that knocks you off your feet
makes you too weak to stand,
let alone move forward
It represents the nauseating heartbreak
that shattered your belief in love
or at least the idea that you could ever deserve it
this rope feels like a reminder that you aren’t worth it

If you’re not careful, this rope can bind you
and constrict so tightly you can only see behind you
blind to the beauty that’s before you
to the beauty that is you!
this rope you are holding cannot set you free
it traps you, stunts you from growing into who you’re meant to be
this rope is not a safety net
but it could become a noose
if you don’t loosen your hold on it
stop giving it control
You are more than the rope in your hands
you are more than “I should have, could have, wish I would have"
You are “I can"

So let it go
unclench your fists
to reveal empty palms
release yourself from the past
make the choice to move on
Be here
right now
in this place
in this moment
march onward, keep your eyes ahead
there’s no direction but forward

That rope doesn’t get to determine who you are
And no matter who you are, I know this to be true:
You are beautiful
You are worth it
You are alive
You can get through
You are loved
You are forgiven
You are brave
You’re made new

Take a deep breath.
The air in your lungs is proof of your presence.
There is no way to breathe life into the past,
We can’t know how many breaths we’ll get
Or how long this life will last.
The only breath we can be sure of is this one. *breathe*
Will you use that breath to cling to what cannot be changed?
Will you spend it wishing you could rewrite the events that caused you pain?
Will you dwell on the things of which you’re afraid?
Or will you use it to praise?
Let your inhales be prayer and your exhales be grace
Breathe in joy
and breathe out life into this place
Let go of what you cannot change