Think of the movie, The Mission, starring Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons. When Mendoza (Robert De Niro) kills his brother Felipe (Aidan Quinn) as a result of jealousy, he seeks – well – redemption. He wants to be free again, free from the burden of his past. For penance the missionaries prescribe that he carry a weight, a bag full of the tools he used in his former occupation: He used to be a slave trader, so his weight included shackles, chains, handcuffs and what have you.
His release came when he finally cut the rope that tied the weight to his neck releasing the contents into the cascading falls.
Forgiveness is power; to the giver and the receiver too. Even with the assurance of forgiveness, there are far too many people who are unable to receive it.
There is still another aspect of perpetually carrying burdens from the past. In the highly acclaimed television drama Downton Abbey Lady Mary, played by Michelle Dockery, continues to refer to herself as “damaged goods” after being raped. Once a victim, she remains a perpetual victim.
As such, she cannot see herself worthy of marrying the man of her heart, but rather would settle for whoever would take her, even if that happens to be the cruel self-made newspaperman, Sir Richard Carlisle.
Holding on to the wounds of the past robs the blessings of a fully lived life in the present and the future.