“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie
I am on an adventure. A journey offering both planned and spontaneous moments to visit, then “feel” times past. The experience is something liken to engaging a time machine, a device able to place me back into a time already lived. A device able to afford me an opportunity … create the needed conditions … to open my emotional center and extract from its archives feelings from the past. And it’s the feelings I seek because my life now revolves around feelings … feelings used as guides and feelings used to dig and work a deeper understanding of me.
A reunion … one reflecting 50 years since departing high school … is the focused event. And while the event itself occurs this evening, I’ve trigger my time machine many times over the past couple of days as I visit old, now unfamiliar places where I once lived, played sports, attended school, encountered romance, and met with younger comrades as we traveled the early days of our life journey together.
And even though physical changes reflecting the time passed make old places hardly recognizable, enough remains to trigger the feelings from those past moments. A walk down a high school corridor now surrounded by new, extensive buildings never seen … watching the current team engage in football with a neighboring school and recalling how it felt when I ran out upon the very same field … standing in front of the home I grew up in, seeing how in today’s standards it might be called a slum … seeing mile upon mile of new buildings now standing where only vacant desert once prevailed … each context significantly changed but still able to create a moment of feelings tied to the past. And each feeling refreshed in my emotional archive, ready for use as I move forward with my life.
I’ve met several nice people along the way, all willing to allow this out of town traveler an opportunity to touch his past and carry away feelings collected like rocks along a field trip. And as I collect my bag of rocks, there arises within me a sense of closure. Closure of these doors leading into my past. Recognition of the joy I was given as I grew up, and the richness of the stories surrounding each day. Appreciation of the role these stories played in forming me … delivering me to a place along time where personal work now reforms and builds a new me from these earlier laid cornerstones. But I feel my moving away … hear the doors closing … and sense my time now turns more and more to living in the “now” as I continue taking new paths towards the life I choose to walk. This new life, built upon the old but so totally different. A life influenced by both old and new feelings, all richly available as guides but not driving who I am. A life now creating new feelings, richer than I could have ever imagined, carrying me towards my final chapters.