Sometimes, regardless of the past…

The past can seem indomitable.
It has a way of creeping up into our present and unsettling us…or settling us for that matter. And whether we like it or not, it affects our present and our future. 

You are where you are today because of what you did yesterday – the thoughts you thought, the decisions you made and the actions you took.

But as to be expected, most of us have things in our past that we wish weren’t there. We struggle to let go and find ourselves tangled up, going back and forth many a time. This can be debilitating especially if it doesn’t allow us to move on.

Two weeks ago, like every other Zambian on the planet, I was caught up in the emotional win of our country’s first African Cup of Nations soccer tournament. When I heard the news, I broke down. There were not so much tears of joy as they were tears of validation and understanding of what it all meant. 

Zambia’s win meant so much to me and to every other Zambian because of the history attached to it…because of the past that brought us to that moment. 

19 years ago, our then national soccer team was unexpectedly killed in a plane crash off the coast of Gabon. They had been on their way to a world cup qualifying match. This was not just a team – it was a group of wonderful people, like you and I; they were men; fathers, husbands, uncles, brothers and friends to somebody. These are the people who lost their lives while doing what they loved. That day, a dark cloud had come over my country, Zambia.

I remember sitting at the feet of my father watching the funeral on TV. I watched as our then president gave a moving and unforgettable speech and prayer. He broke down in front of millions of people on national television. To this day, it remains one of the most moving things I have ever witnessed.

That day a light had been snuffed out.
That soccer team had been one of the best in Africa and they were on their way to competing with big soccer nations like Italy and Brazil.

Honestly, a part of me couldn’t see beyond the pain and loss of that day. For the last 19 years that past seemed to always come back to haunt us as a nation in all our soccer endeavours.

But…the past is not meant to be a prison. It can be but it is not meant to be. 

No matter how we look at it, the past will always be part of our lives. We can’t run away from it no matter how hard we try. But we can learn from it. 

Some pasts are hard to deal with and they are hard to let go of. There is simply no easy way to do it. But if you can somehow remember that sometimes, regardless of the past, you and your life can be better, this can somehow empower you to draw strength and motivation from your past. 

I use the word sometimes because often this feat of moving on from the past requires a conscious effort and active engagement with your mind, heart and soul and what you’re doing with your every day. It requires you to be aware of yourself in the most honest of ways.

The Zambian soccer team’s victory illustrates this for me so beautifully simply because their win was not out of the blue. They worked hard, day after day; sacrificed much and invested their time and passion into perfecting their skill. It’s taken them 19 years to see a tangible result of their work. And that to me is simply amazing.

I am encouraged not to feel too despondent about the negative things in my past but rather to find a way to draw lessons from them; to allow my past to be weaved into the awesome tapestry that is my life. 

So I hope your past does not overwhelm you and if and when it does, remember that sometimes regardless of the past…

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