Yesterday Passed

“Today is today and yesterday passed, this is certain.

Today is also tomorrow, and I left
with some cold year that passed,
that year left with me and took me with it.”—Pablo Neruda

Like many nine-year-olds, my son, K, enjoys creating things with LEGO. What makes him different, however, is his obsession with the instruction books. Although he enjoys reading the book 365 Things To Do With LEGO Bricks, he much prefers reviewing the basic instructions for LEGO sets he’s already built. He carefully reviews the steps outlined on each page before turning to the next one. If we allowed him, he would spend hours flipping through his collection of instruction books, over and over, and do this day after day. He doesn’t want to rebuild the LEGO sets, but he finds comfort in repeatedly reviewing the steps he’s already followed.

As I watched K pore over the LEGO books this evening, I thought about how I can obsess about situations and events from my past. I’m not able to go back in time and reassemble what happened, so I’m not sure what I hope to accomplish by repeatedly imagining how I could have spoken or acted differently. While some introspection is healthy (and also necessary for personal survival and growth), there comes a point in which further reflection on past experiences is no longer helpful or healthy.

I need to recognize when today is also tomorrow, so that I can embrace the freedom to create something new.


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