Monday, July 30, 2012

Nostalgia Is Great, Actually

When my cousin and best childhood friend, Erik, would come visit, we'd sleep in the living room on the pull-out bed stored in the sofa. You know, the bed with the bar that runs across your back like Ben Hur had when he got arrested and taken to the Roman slave ship. The bed with the bar that disfigures you like Quasimodo by morning. That bed. The cool feature of this particular model was that the head end could be locked in a semi-upright position so one could read a book like the people in those Craftmatic Adjustable Bed ads. I remember all of this very well because I spent hours - hours! - lying awake while Erik snoozed next to me, him having dropped off pretty much immediately. Children shouldn't be insomniacs. 

Now, even though I'd not fallen asleep till the wee hours of the morning, it was a sure thing that I'd still wake up at like 6:30 and go eat breakfast, read the funnies, feed the dog, mow the lawn, paint the shed, weed the garden, wash the car, run for Congress, and Establish World Peace, all while Erik did this thing called, evidently, "sleeping in." It was only till 8:00, but boy that kid taxed my patience.

I was reminded of all of this because just today, through the miracle of communication technology (Facebook haha), Erik and I reconnected after having become disconnected for many years. The reconnect happened because my Uncle George died last Friday, and several of the cousins were messaging  and sharing George-memories, which inevitably led to everyone's shared memories of George's mom, our wonderful Grammie. So Erik and I reconnected.

And the nostalgia floodgates opened.

I was already predisposed to reverie and whatnot, because just two days ago my nephew  Ben married his soul mate, Liz. It was a beautiful day, mostly due to the joy evident on both of their faces all day. It was a weepy ceremony, complete with the bride's own father delivering the wedding homily. The strong emotions may have been a bit exaggerated for me by the fact that Janie wasn't there, and she had known and adored Ben since birth. And she would have adored Liz too. The night of the rehearsal dinner was Janie's sister Wendy's birthday, another life-passage, and that very day also would have marked Janie & my 27th wedding anniversary. 

So I of course lay awake that night, just soaking in the knowledge that, well, time passes. That is, life is made up of these events in time; our days are marked off by passage after passage, event after event, spaced unevenly, yet perfectly by the God who is There. And indeed life is short. As Uncle George emphasized by his passing, and Janie by hers, nothing lasts forever.

I know this sounds all serious and sober and so forth, but I guess when I get a death in the family, a wedding, a birthday and a reconnect with a long, lost friend all in the span of four days, it sets me thinking, you know?

"So teach us to number our days
    that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Return, O Lord! How long?
    Have pity on your servants!

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,    
 that we may rejoice and be glad all our days." Psalm 90:12-14

I know we don't think about this stuff all the time...I'd even go so far as to say we probably shouldn't think about this stuff all the time. But do we think of this kind of stuff at all? "Teach us to number our days." Do we even spend any time thinking about the meaning of such things? How's that adage go? "Life is what happened while you were making other plans." I wonder if that's not such a good thing?

Anyway, I don't want to get to the end of my days, however many God gives me, and feel like I missed it. Life, I mean. Living. Being in the moment that God gave and really Live it, with an awareness of the living as it's happening, and not just in retrospect as I tend to do. I think for starters it would be good for me to be more proactive about making sure my kids know I love them. Becca, Daniel, Carly...I love you.


As I mowed my lawn today, I listened, for the umpteenth time, to Switchfoot's, "Souvenirs." I hope it blesses and heals and inspires you like it does me....


  1. I looove your blogs. Keep writing!

  2. Hey if you'll pray against the evil spirit of writer's block, I'll keep writing ha!

  3. It keeps me going, at least for another day. Your writing and sharing gives me something to reflect on, or rejoice in or respond to. I love your family. Remembering Janie. :-)

  4. I always am excited when you post something new. I am so glad you and Eric got reconnected. And thanks for the reminder that every day is a gift.

  5. That was wonderful, Chris. Thanks. :)

  6. Anonymous, thanks...whoever you are :)
    Carol and Blaine, thanks to you, too. As God gives me stuff to say, I'll write it down. :D

  7. Chris,
    This is a pleasure to read! I'm going to be slowly going back and reading everything. I don't know if that's a good thing because I'm weeping as I type this... yes, Jim Freeman married a very sentimental, nostalgic girl. Oh wait! I'm a girl! That just goes unsaid! Phew!
    ~Amy Freeman