Only a Vapor

My mind goes wandering and my heart tags along.

The old trite saying tells us home is where the heart is.  Granting the general veracity of the adage, it seems at times that the heart is a little confused about where it lives.  

Perhaps, it remembers a different home in which it once sojourned.  Perhaps, it is looking forward to a future one as well.
It appears that moving past middle age into the silver years has led me to reconsider my youthful resoluteness that I rather like this earthly home.  I’m reminded that this mortal existence is not the final stop for any of us.  
For a number of years now, one of my favorite quotations has been these words spoken over sixty years ago by C.S. Lewis: 
“Nature is mortal; we shall outlive her. When all the suns and nebulae have passed away, each one of you will still be alive….We are summoned to pass in through Nature, beyond her, into that splendour which she fitfully reflects. And in there, in beyond Nature, we shall eat of the tree of life.”*  
It’s an incredible and humbling thing to consider the import of eternity.  There is a different home in the future for all of us.  Our path and choices today will determine where each of us will spend those ages of immortality.
That’s not exactly what I’m thinking about tonight, though.  
I really love the life I’ve been blessed to live right now.  After amazingly full days like today, perhaps there are a few second thoughts about how much I love it, but they soon pass and I consider how privileged am I to be involved in the lives of so many fine human beings (and a few not-so-fine ones).  
Yet, time after time over the last few years I have sat and reminisced, both alone and with old friends, about days gone by.  There’s a certain yearning that pulls us back, perhaps remembering that the days were less busy, the hours less demanding.  It may be that the years color the memories, making them more pleasant than the reality of living them, but they are still enjoyable and enticing.
So, does that mean that my heart is still back there and not in the here and now?  
Is the past really home?  
The answer to both questions is an emphatic “No!”  
I wouldn’t go back for all the treasure that could be offered.  You see, I’ve figured out that the beauty, the allure of the past, is that events have moved on.  I’ve lived through the disasters, the triumphs, and they are over.  
But even today, my memory is not so bad that I don’t remember the frustration of raising teenagers and of dealing with the emotion and childishness of family squabbles.  In my near senility, I have not lost the feeling of terror when accidents occurred, the sadness when death took loved ones.  The glasses I am wearing are not so rosy that I don’t see truth, but they are colored with the satisfaction of moving on, of coming through.  
Emotions rise and I feel pride, remembering the generosity of my son as he shares with the whole family, and the tender heart of my daughter as she cries with me over my Grandma’s passing.  
Those memories and many more like them color my consideration of loved ones in my life still today, because history is folded into the present and makes up who they are and who I am.
But time won’t wait.  
We live in the present, with new experiences continuing to make us into who we are becoming.  
What a wonderful gift, to be able to look back, enjoying the memories which are evoked by the glance behind.  And, what incredible anticipation is ours, as we look ahead to where the path is leading.  There are still a few more corners to turn, still a few more hills to climb before we arrive at our destination.  
Of all the gifts, I’m thinking that I’m most thankful for the blank page of the day just ahead, awaiting our first step into it, our first words coloring the empty space.  Here is where the past and the future meet.  This is the place where we set the memories, about which we’ll reminisce in years to come, into the history books of our minds. 
That’s it for today.  
No stories.  No moral.  No instructions.  Some days are like that.  We live, we love, we learn. 
We keep walking.  
Together, I hope.
Photo by Sharafat Khan
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; 
His mercies never come to an end;
They are new every morning;
Great is your faithfulness.”
(Lamentation 3:22,23 ESV)
“We all have our time machines.  Some take us back; they’re called memories.  Some take us forward; they’re called dreams.”
(Jeremy Irons~English actor)
*from “Transposition and Other Addresses” C.S. Lewis, published by Geoffrey Bles, 1949
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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