The Gift of Going Back

7 07 2016

I will soon be transitioning into a Sabbath rest period. During this time I am planning on being ‘fallow with intent’.

Many have asked what I am going to do. I have some plans than involve golf and limited travel. I envision some time to rest, reflect, renew and redirect. All of that involves some activity on my part. What seems clear to me with each day is that part of the wisdom of a sabbath rest is to not to  ‘do something’ but to allow ‘something to be done unto and into’. So, fallow with intent.

One of the items on my ‘to do list’ was to get some medical diagnostic tests done. That came as an early gift with some chest pains and the subsequent follow up procedures.  Sometimes we don’t get to schedule our ‘bucket list”. At least I did not kick it;-).

The results? All is well for a person of my advancing age. Some lifestyle changes are on the horizion and better health through pharmacology. All in all,  Great!

Another goal was to attend my 50th High School reunion a bit early. Since ’66 and ’67 are combined, I get to sneak in a year earlier. Some have asked what I expected. My reply is, “To go look at a bunch of old folks, many of whom I won’t recognize or probably remember and who will not recognize or remember me.” The buffet will have a high fiber choice and at least one chicken option, bet on it.

What I was not prepared for  was looking at the ” In Memoriam” page.  I had more heart pains. I went through the lists and saw classmates and friends with whom I shared some of the glory days, to borrow a phrase for Bruce Springsteen their images from the 1967 Senior photos life was frozen in time.

My sarcasm about old folks who I will probably not be able to remember fell silent before the reality that 50 years had gone by somewhat unobserved. I remembered. Like the scene from Christmas Vacation I was alone in the attic of mind with 50 year old home movies now digitized in memory. And yes, a tear or two fell.

What happened to these friends with whom I shared laughs, memories and some of the most memorable , difficult and formative years of my life? How did they die? How did they live?

Before we get too nostalgic or melancholy,  life is not to be lived frozen in time.  As Thomas Wolf reminded us we can not go back home again.  But a well timed trip back to another place, the old home place,  is good.

Dr. Harmon Smith, my Christian Ethics professor at Duke reminded me that ‘where we come from’  informs and  has a bearing on ‘where we wind up’ in life.

So, here’s to the 50 year re-union…re-uniting.

Here’s to those friends who will be in attendance with 50 years of wear on them. I hope we have name tags!!

Here’s to the ones who can not be present. We would be more complete with you! You will be missed.

Here’s to the ones whose youthful pictures will be their presence with us. You will be remembered.

Here’s to a place and time that helped shape us into who we have become.

This is a great place to be, here and now.


It will be great to go back and remember then and when.

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