Today is a good day… for many reasons. The sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, it is 68 degrees outside (in Florida this is cold). But, mostly, it’s a good day because later this evening, Erin and I are meeting up with some friends and going to a Boyz II Men concert. That’s right, you read it correctly, Boyz II freakin’ Men. How old-school is that? Ever since we first heard about the concert I’ve had lots of random high school flashbacks, all accompanied by synthesizer keyboards, 4 part harmony and the occasional monologue in a register so low that it is hardly audible to the human ear. And this has been weird for me because honestly, I don’t think much about high school. I liked it okay. But it certainly wasn’t my “glory days.” I mean, I was in the marching band. And there’s really a cap on how cool you can actually be and still be in the marching band. Fellow band-nerds, you can deny it all you want but once you put on that uniform and march out in front of your peers to play an array of 1960’s pop songs, it is clear that you are sacrificing your social standing, at least a little. No offense to my high school friends. I do have lots of good memories, but I’m not sporting my letter jacket and class ring, if you know what I mean.
I think my best memories are from college. Memories of late night coffee, deep conversations, spontaneous musical jams, coming home to an apartment filled with people (none of whom actually live there). It was an unbelievable time of growth and change in my life and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. Even the rough parts. There is something about that time, something special, something that could never be repeated. Now those late night coffees need to be decaf and if I’m still awake at 10pm, it’s considered a late night. I wake up at 6am with the kids and rush off to work and then return home with Erin, who, it often seems, I only see in passing as we try to balance our schedules, taking care of children, running errands and general adult responsibility.
And to be honest, I sometimes fight the temptation to glamorize the past and then compare it to the present. I think we all do this. I’ve met people who are so wrapped up in the past that they are determined to recreate it. Or still live in it, as if nothing has changed. But, it’s kind of like a 45 year old dude in skinny jeans, it’s just not right and everybody knows it’s not right. There is a denial going on. A denial that time has passed and that change has occurred. You can’t stop it. It is an inevitable part of our human experience. Whatever our past experience was, it has run its course and served it’s purpose. We will never be able to recover it. And even if we did we would probably be disappointed with what we found, since our memories are often more generous than reality.
Change is an inevitable and necessary part of our life and the more we avoid it the more frustrated and bitter we will become. Each chapter of our life is meant to bring us into the next and they all have a part in making us who we are and shaping our perspective on the world around us. If you read the narratives of the Bible it seems that God intentionally changes people’s circumstances on a regular basis. He straight up changed some dudes’ names. Like, “What’s your name? Saul? Nope. Don’t like it. Now it’s Paul.” There are actually very few stories in the scriptures where God was not changing or moving people away from what was familiar and comfortable and onto what was next. And that really resonates with what my experience has been.
There are few things that will stretch us and force us to grow more than being thrown into a new and unfamiliar environment. Whether it is a move, a marriage, a baby, a new job, a new challenge, etc… Times of change can actually be some of the best times for us if we allow it. But, it’s just so hard to say goodbye to yesterday. It’s like we come to the end of the road and just can’t let go. Sorry, you had to know I’d to work these in somewhere.
I’ve heard it said, “Wherever you are, be all there.” And unless I want to look back on this time in my life with deep regrets, missed opportunities and broken relationships than I need to remember that and find a way to be fully present at every moment.