Nostalgia can be an evil seducer, for the past cannot be dragged forward, regardless of how hard we try. The past belongs where it is, and whether we glamorize it or run from it, its power is limited to that which we give it. The here. The now. These are what matters, and they are impossible to enjoy fully, if we hang onto that which used to be.
It has been a very long time since I went “home,” and as I drove around the old neighborhood, I wanted to enjoy the moment, but I felt I didn’t belong. The house in which I grew up appeared vacant, but I didn’t get out to look. Too many feelings. It is most definitely run down, but if somebody lives there, my guess is it doesn’t feel run down to them.
Everything on the old block felt crowded and cramped. The trees are enormous, and the field out back where we used to play is so overgrown that it’s hard to imagine the time long ago when we played baseball and football there with all the neighbor kids.
I got to spend precious moments with my mother, Miss Dorothy, and her cat, Missy Sue. Though I look like my father, it is my mother’s block from which I was chipped. She hasn’t a clue about the internet except for the woman downstairs who complains every time her computer belches. She doesn’t know about blogs, bittorrent, streaming video, social media, or any of the stuff of which I write, nor does she care. She smiles when I tell her what I do, but the smile is more a courtesy than anything else, and that’s okay.
But I was struck by the metaphor contained in that smile and all the way back to Dallas, I thought about how absolutely different our world is today from it was when I played in that field out back of our house. I thought about generations past and generations to come, and how I will one day likely smile that courteous smile rather than engage in that which belongs to the future.
For our lives belong to us, each with its beginning and its end. The past belongs where it is, with its good and with its bad, and the future belongs to that and those yet to come. Today is God’s gift to each of us, and my prayer for each of you today is that you not squander one moment thereof.