One of my favorite Zen stories goes something like this. The student goes to the master and says, “My body is gripped by a fatal disease. Please master, wipe away my sins.”
In response, the master says, “Bring your sins out here, and I will wipe them away for you.”
The students sits for awhile and replies, “When I look for my sins, I cannot find them.”
“I have wiped away your sins,” the master declares.
We all have done things we regret, and sometimes we can use these as an excuse not to pursue our dreams.
But where are those sins now? Certainly, we think about them. But probably a lot more than other people do. Other people may not even remember that thing we are most embarrassed about. Or they may dismiss it as trivial, because it didn't really affect them.
Or maybe it is a big deal, but all we really need to do is apologize.
Things happen and life moves on. Don't assume your past actions will get in the way. Don't assume it's a done deal. Instead, assume that redemption is possible.
Because it almost always is.