I need reminders. At the end of one year and the beginning of the next, I become more introspective than I usually am. A few weeks ago, I remembered the following story. It helped me to think through the process of making the transition from one year to the next. And it reminded me how we live in three worlds and how they contribute to making us who we are: our past, our present, and our plans for the future.
It was a nice summer afternoon. I was working in the garage with the door open. The neighbors across the street were having a party. One of the guests saw me and walked across the street and introduced himself.
He explained that he was a former owner of this house and asked if he could take a look around. I didn't have a problem with it. He explained a lot of the remodeling he had done, why he had done some things the way he did. Good stuff to know. He had some great stories about living in the house and raising his sons there.
I explained that my wife and I really liked what he had done with the house. There had been some expansion and remodeling. I went on to mention a couple of things we were planning on changing. Some of these changes would involve tearing some things down. But I stopped myself before I got too far into those details. I was glad I did.
The guy was very personable. As we walked around he started telling me about the house and his life there. As different events came to mind, he shared them with me. He told me how much his family had enjoyed the pool together and the barbeques on the deck, the parties, and the "science experiments" his sons did in the garage, and how he and his wife would relax in the hot tub after a long week. His memories were rich, lots of laughter and love.
It occurred to me that what my wife and I were thinking about doing with the place wasn't important to him. Why should it be? He had a different agenda that day. He didn't care if we changed things. But I don't think he really wanted to know about it either. He had no future here anymore. But he had his memories and they were real. He was looking beyond what was and seeing what had happened years before. I could tell by the way he told his stories, how he described the events, that he was replaying these scenes in his mind. He was just taking a moment to breathe in those memories. At that moment we were two guys standing in the same back yard, one looking back, the other looking forward, sharing the same space, but not the same time.
When he had seen all he wanted to see, he thanked me. He said that he had asked his wife to come along but she wanted to stay at the party. He thought she just wanted to remember the house as it was. I could understand that. I said I enjoyed talking with him and learning more about the house. He walked back across the street, back from his past into his present.
May your memories
Enrich and strengthen your present
And fortify the foundation on which you are building your tomorrows.
Greg Davis, B.Mus., M.Div.
Greg teaches Elementary Music, first though fifth grades in Pleasanton, CA.