At first, I really didn’t want to write this but after some inspiration from a friend of mine and the feeling of being in the same boat as her, I’m lead to share.
There are seasons in our lives where we just want to hang on, sometimes desperately, to the memories and familiarity of what we did yesterday. Up front, it seems so trivial to not want to be in the comfort and security that it offers. However, the older I get, the more it begins to feel so ordinary. We, as people, have to feel like every day has to be something different. We have to feel that the unknown has to transcend everything we know about our lives so that it builds a compulsion to go beyond our own shores. On the other hand, the unknown offers familiarity as well in the regard that there is nothing our own shores that others can’t offer us. After all, a simple change in perspective can change our outlook on our own world. We feel that in doing so, we don’t have to travel.
So, here brings the real tug on the heart strings. Anyone who knows me knows I have a problem taking things in faith. I have real issues rooted in living in the safety and security of yesterday. My friend, who may or may not make themselves apparent, is having to cope with changes at home. Their mother is selling their childhood home and having to process all of the memories and experience they had there. I, too, am having a similar season in life.
Close to four years ago, one of my best friends from my college days died in a car accident. There isn’t a day that goes by that a part of me doesn’t wish it would have been me instead of him. He had such a vibrant life and a wonderful future ahead of him only to be cut short because of indiscretion. For the record, I don’t blame anyone. I wish no ill will to any of the surviving victims. It was an accident and all of the pain and blame disappeared long ago.
The point is that his memory and the memories that both he and I made together will be a part of me. There was nothing about him, at least to me, that would ever make me think that there was anything about him that you could just forget. He was very memorable. He still is. But, I didn’t ever think that the last memory, or experience if you will, would be such an ordinary thing.
It was Relay for Life and I was participating for a friend who had overcome leukemia. It was late that night and it was decided that we go for drinks. So, I grabbed a pal and decided to go to McDonald’s and there he was. He was getting coffee. It was so ordinary. It was small talk with the typical “How are you?” and other daily minutiae. Little did I know that three months later I’d find out that there wouldn’t be another memory to make.
On a personal level, I do not want the last memory I have with anyone to break their heart but I know it will because it is the last we would ever have. It breaks MY heart to know that. It isn’t so much our last memory, but memories, in general, are what is relevant here. We cling so hard to those memories because they have such a deep root with us. They’ve made us what we are and the help to shape the things we are to become. For me, the only thing I knew was that if anybody should have died that night, it should have been me and not him. For her, it was the uncertainty that the future held. Any way the cookie crumbles, it definitely is a cold reminder that living in the past is a torment in its own right.
This really hit me when I was taking a shower this morning. I was content being that person to end an era on such a bad note. Who honestly wants their last memory of something to be one where it departs from your life never to return? Side note – that’s why I hate funerals, mmmkay? Okay, now back to it. It’s why we try so hard to claw, dig, and root ourselves in something that represents such a positive and tangible time to us. It’s why we reminisce and find nostalgia are such big things as we get older.
However, there are times where we do have to lay those things in their proper place. However painful or uncomfortable those things may be to do, it is part of the cyclical nature of who we are. (Life Lesson: Life is not a linear projection. It is indeed very cyclical, or seasonal if you want to phrase it Biblically.) I can say that there is a reason for hope, optimism, or however you want to phrase it and it lies here:
“It’s so easy to become jaded. To treat the extraordinary like just another day at the office. But sometimes, there are experiences that transcend all that.” -Kate Mulgrew
It’s so hard to move on from things because we don’t want to lose the feeling of security and safety that they offer. We’ve become jaded by familiarity, to speak towards what Ms. Mulgrew’s context. Way too many times have I felt as those to whom she is speaking.
So, when I went to go get coffee this past Saturday, I can admit that it felt like just another meet and greet with some new friends from Boys Ranch. Community is great and all but it isn’t really anything to write home about. Long story short, my new friends managed not to speak to me. But, they spoke to my heart and if you know me, that’s a re-damn-diculously hard thing to do. It was an eye-opening experience. You can say that it was a transcending moment to me. It wasn’t extraordinary. It wasn’t really even ordinary because I can have heart level conversations with people. But, it was definitely out of the ordinary and unexpected. More than anything, it was an invitation.
We aspire to the next thing, to see what’s around the next corner, or to travel to the next destination in our journey. We can’t say hello to any of these things if we can’t figure out to say goodbye to familiarity and being safe and secure. It really means taking the risk of just being willing to turn the page, honestly.
Life is a story, read it! =)
Oh… and if you guys get to see tomorrow, I hope it is worth all the wait. Tell him you’re happy to see him. I’m sure he’s glad you made it.
Me and Eric… All Smiles!!!! Freshman Party 2010! My favorite memory…
In Memorium of Eric Harrison, Chris Hinders, Trevor Burrell, Brandon Billingsley, and whoever else isn’t here with us.
Inspired by “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” written by Freddie Perren & Christine Yarian and performed by Boyz II Men.