Sunday, December 17, 2017

Our Time Best Spent


Two quotes I posted from famous women authors over the years popped up on my Facebook timeline this month. I want to consider them both today.

“The great thing about getting older
Is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.”
-        Madeleine L’Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time

“It’s good to have an end to journey toward,
But it is the journey that matters in the end.”
-        Ursula K. LeGuin, author of The Earthsea Cycle

We journey for as long as we have time, and our today is influenced by our yesterdays.

I’ve never been one to long for times gone by. I’m here. I’ve made it this far. I’d hate to have to go through the pains and struggles that I have experienced yet again.

The good and the bad experiences still live inside me and in you. And as Ms. L’Engle points out, we still have those other ages within us. They (both who were were and what we went through) can be today’s gifts if we look at them in that light.  They can teach us today, and now we have the added benefit that their immediacy is not longer a part of the deal. The experiences are tempered by time. All we have to do is look back with our eyes of today, and not struggle to retrieve the experience and the eyes of yesterday.

With our eyes of today, we can step forward into tomorrow.

Ms. LeGuin adds a twist. I can have a thing I want to reach- a hope or a goal, but the getting there is my true reality. I may never get that hope, but I will have the reaching for it.

What’s the story of my reaching? What’s the story of your reaching?

Every day I get older- I’m a bit different from the previous day. Every day, I’m a slightly new me, built from all the previous days and interactions. The same goes for you.

We need to support each other's journeys. We’ll do that best by remembering our past days while also letting today and tomorrow have their place. We’ll do that by acknowledging the similarities, and respecting the differences that add richness to life, and removing the practices that go against those two goals.

I have an idea for another essay that’s springing from this one. One that covers how our institutions should be in step with our individual values. More on that later. In the meantime, as we wind down 2017, I wish you peace on your journey. May you have what you need, love what you have, and give what you can.

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