Adelle’s is a funky coffee house in Dover – or it was until it was sold a couple months back. Trader Joe’s in Hyannis is one of my favorite places to shop – or it was until I moved to Vermont. Purdue is my brother Bill’s graduate school – now his alma mater for over a decade.
The Purdue logo disappeared off my mug years ago, leaving no trace that it was ever there. Nothing that fulfills its purpose over many years remains in its original condition. Yet, I still call it my Purdue mug; its history and origin have remained in my mind long past the outer signs of them.
I’m not sure this is a good thing, at least not as a general rule. Refusing to recognize the state of something as it is in favor of what it once was can be a form of reality denial. This isn’t so important when it comes to a coffee mug, but when it’s about people it becomes much more so. If I refuse to see the changes in those around me, I may not honor who they are in the present. Trying to make decisions for my twenty-something sons as if they were still children; refusing to recognize when aging relatives need help; trying to live as if I were still in my thirties rather than my late fifties. If I see what was instead of what is, I am blind to the precious gift that life offers now. Ages and stages change for all of us. Perhaps the key is to love each person in every age and stage rather than get too attached to the ages and stages themselves.
Letting go of what doesn’t matter: a particular age and stage – for myself and others.
Loving what does: the person who grows in and out of ages and stages.
2 thoughts on “What Once Was”
The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old
measurements and expect me to fit them. -George Bernard Shaw
I love that! Thanks, David.