Reconstructed Nostalgia   3 comments

I have been listening to country videos this morning.  If I skip past the shallow, trashy and stupid ones (common to every music genre), they make me nostalgic for a traditional family past, a past that never happened.  I borrow memories from “The Waltons” and Hallmark movies, add snippets of wishful thinking, and, cutting around the fights and fears and tensions, stitch together just the happy bits of Christmas and Thanksgiving and vacations.  My recollections are good ones, just not accurate ones.  Memory has a wonderful facility for reconstructing the past to feel good… even things that crushed me as a boy seem somehow softened, almost endearing now. 

Those sunny memories sing hope to my troubled heart and stir up a longing to recreate them in my life–a time (as I remember) when relationships were simple and straightforward, even quarrels made us bond more closely, and everyone in the family wanted to be together, a place where I could be myself and I was accepted for who I am and pretenses were dropped.  But as I discovered, hopes built on such imaginary figments are doomed to repeated and increasingly painful disappointments.

Reality battered my soul for ten years before it finally broke through and crushed those false hopes, and now there is no going back, no denying what I now see, no ignoring the fears I once covered over so well…  there is only going forward…  into pain and fear and confusion and tears.  For the last decade my only hope has been to push through the suffering into something better on the other side, but this harsh place has been an inescapable quagmire.  I have grown a great deal, but it has brought no significant relief, peace, or joy… only continued breaking.  I have done the best I can in every situation, at each fork taken the way that seemed right, but I am no closer to finding my way out of this misery. 

Unfortunately, few folks are comfortable enough with my experience of life to allow me to be as I am and be okay with it.  They want to help me, fix me, advise and counsel me because they care about me, but also because my pain is uncomfortable to them–it does not fit well with their theology, worldview, or experience.  It doesn’t fit well with my theology either, but I cannot lie about my experience in order to validate my theology.  I do not know how this story ends.  It is what it is today.



Posted April 19, 2010 by janathangrace in Uncategorized

3 responses to “Reconstructed Nostalgia

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  1. This is so moving, so profound. It resonates with an incredible beauty– a harsh, dark beauty of truth. It speaks with a rough and desperate dissonance that breaks the heart and yet opens deep wells of internal strength of spirit to stand in the darkness and imagine the light that cannot be seen. No hope, no redemption, just a trembling, dogged, waiting for God, who may or may not ever come.I love you

  2. @Mardi – Thanks for your words.  You are one of the few that can truly understand and accept things as they are.

  3. I love you as you are, no better, no worse. I experienced that “traditional family past” of which you speak, and it has been breathing into my soul over the last two days since we returned to Houston: sitting out on the green grass of the lawn, watching my mom come walking over to me, relishing the true memories that built a foundation of comfort. May you somehow find that for which your soul yearns.

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