Phantom:Something apparently seen, heard, or sensed, but having no physical reality.
Phantom limb syndrome: the ability to feel sensations and even pain in a limb or limbs that no longer exist.
Imagine your leg. Imagine that something happened, and your leg is badly injured. The wound is deep and gaping. This once healthy leg now broken, damaged, and bruised. Scarred forever.
The damage caused by the wound is so dark, so painful. You feel it through your entire body, to your very core. The damage is so bad, that the only thing you can do is cut it off. You have to cut it off and leave it there so it doesn’t kill you.
And so you do.
And you begin to heal. Slowly. Purposefully and intentionally.
You tend to what’s left of the wound and you push forward, day by day. Until all that’s left is a scar. A reminder of what used to be there.
You adjust. You find ways to stand. You make the most of this new yet different life. You are thankful for the simple fact that you survived this life altering wound. Thankful that you are able to find some healing and that you don’t live with that gaping festering hole anymore.
Things are different now. You lost a lot. But you also gained a lot. A different perspective. A new outlook. A new appreciation for the goodness in life and for the things that really matter.
But sometimes, so many times, you suddenly feel the pain again. You see something, or you hear something, or you simply have a thought, and the pain comes. Right back to your very core. As if that gaping wound is still being wounded. As if you are right there in that moment.
But you aren’t.
It doesn’t exist anymore. That thing that wounded you so deeply. It’s gone.
You don’t live in that moment anymore. Yet it somehow still finds ways to haunt you.
Like a phantom limb.
And you have to remind yourself that it’s not there anymore.
The pain is not new. It’s not fresh. It’s just a memory.
You have to remind yourself that it’s not your reality now. The wounded limb is long gone. Lying on the floor of your past.
You’ll never forget. And your mind will play tricks on you and try to convince you it’s still there, still attached, keeping you from moving forward.
That’s what the memory of his affair is like for me some days.
It’s my phantom limb.
So I just have to keep reminding myself that it’s not there anymore.
It’s not something you can ever really forget. It’s not something that you ever really get over. But you learn to live with it. You learn to live through it. And you learn to live beyond it.
And if you stay focused on the goodness of life, on the blessings, on this very moment, now, in the present, you’ll find that phantoms are just that.
They don’t exist. They can’t hurt you. Because they aren’t real.
I may not be able to completely banish the phantoms of our past. My phantoms, my memories, do haunt me. But I know that they have no power. I can keep moving forward because I know they don’t really exist anymore.
What is real is what I have right now. In this very moment. The only way to fight off the phantoms, the pain of the past, is to just keep reminding yourself of the goodness in the here and the now.
Goodness is real.
Love is real.
Redemption is real.
do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
These are the things that are my new reality.
They can be yours too. ❤️
Amy Thurston Gordy