Living in the past is not the same as being there, or here, for that matter. That’s more like an illness, and there are treatments for it. We all do it. Temporary escape rendezvous to a more pleasant time. More pleasant than now. Remember when….? The need is so strong that entire industries have been invented to drag up past ideas and situations. It’s called nostalgia. The past can be instructive, but it is not a way of life.

I don’t remember life being easy back then. You could say I had it easy, but I know I didn’t make it easy. Some of the more gut wrenching moments in my life took place in my twenties. Starting out without a road map other than that blind hormonal surge was, on the one hand, blithely optimistic, but on the other hand reality was tough and the way forward seemed endless. Moments of temporal pleasure and brief respites from the constant pressures of young adulthood were meat on the table.

I remember – It was a warm late afternoon in central Louisiana where I was in college. Our two children barely out of the toddler stage were running around the low hillocks bordering a small lake while we sat making coffee over a portable stove we brought along for that purpose. That was over 50 years ago and it stands out like a cup of cool water in the desert.

What that scene doesn’t say is that there was no money. Years of the same kind of struggling lay ahead. Nothing about our child care arrangement was satisfactory. I had never planned on college and there I was feeling inadequate to the task and terrified among people 5 to 7 years younger than I, and much smarter. And we both felt like we couldn’t breath with all that on top of us. But, for those few moments at the lake, we could create a snippet of control – a moment of joy – an experiment in “normalcy”. And it was nourishing.

It took me a long time to figure it out: you know, that life is rather complete at any stage with all its raw edges giving contrast to the moments of joy we create for ourselves. In other words, life is what it is, not what it’s not. Take a moment – any moment. That’s life. Sometimes it isn’t much. Sometimes it’s everything. Sometimes a trip to the lake is just the thing.

1 Comment

  1. Thanks dear friends.

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