Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sentimental

I may be giving myself away a little, but at this point I really don't care so much. I had to work late the other night and before leaving I decided to go for a little stroll around the dock where I work. The sun was just setting over the hillside and our customers had all turned in for the evening. The air was cool and soothing after the heat of the day. The water was perfectly still. The moon was shining bright across the water, and the stars were already coming out. I looked out onto the main body of the lake and suddenly felt lucky for having been assigned to work during this time. The beauty God had created all around me simply amazed me. Everything seemed so peaceful and calm, and I couldn't help but feel relaxed.

My mind soon began wandering, and I began thinking upon all the time I'd spent working there. I remembered all those tasks performed, all the coworkers who had come and gone, and all those good times and bad. It wasn't long until I began yearning for the past. I kept thinking about all those people who I'd worked with over the last few years. So many of them have gone on to other things, and I rarely see most of them anymore. In thinking about that, I remembered the guy I fell in love with a few years ago. I know there was no way I could have ever been with him—he wasn't/isn't gay. But I know I fell for him harder than anyone else I've ever known. He was a Christian, smart, funny, cute, kind, everything I ever looked for in another guy, and the more I was around him the more I loved him. I almost wanted to cry just thinking of him. I still see him from time to time, but it's far and few times between. When I do see him, it's not like it used to be. We're more along the line of acquaintances now than friends. I miss him. And I'll admit, I can't help but wonder sometimes what could have been had he felt the same about me. It's very likely that had he had feelings for me, I'd have gladly been his boyfriend. Who knows what different course that would have led me?

I don't just miss him though. I miss a lot of people. I've reached a point where I hate so very much having to say goodbye to people. I know from experience that once I do that, I'm very likely never or rarely to see that person again. Because of that, I hate having to say goodbye. I have that fear that when I do, I'll never see that person again. This is one of the main reasons why I've questioned my decision to become a teacher. You spend an entire year getting to know your students and then they move on in life while you stay put. It's a kind of sad profession in that sense. Not to say that it isn't extremely rewarding in other regards, but it's just that you lose people on a yearly basis who you've spent so much time with getting to know and love, and it hurts whenever you lose those you love—in whatever context that may be.

I think sometimes I must be the most sentimental person in the world. I have a great tendency to hold onto the past and long after it. I think back to good times and wish I could revisit them. I see a familiar spot alongside the road and just have to pull over. I think of people who have moved on in life and wish I could be around them again. I keep everything, because everything has a meaning and a story to it. I'm a real pack rat that way.

I know it's been hard for me to move forward in life because of that. I know my life could be a whole lot different in so many ways if I could just let go of the past. I know I let my past hold me back so much of the time. I may have found a better job, church, place to live, etc. by now if only I could have put aside the past and charged forward into the future.

Maybe there's fear there. Maybe I'm afraid of change. Maybe I'm afraid of the future. Maybe I'm afraid that what lies ahead won't be as good as what lies in the past or in the present. I think it's just that a lot of my past hasn't been what I'd call great. As a means of escaping real life, I've tended to lose myself in the thoughts of what were good times, and I long for those times and for what reminds me of them. I guess I just like the familiar and like to hold onto what's been dear to me. The places where I've lived, worked, went to school, church have all contributed to such a large part of who I am. My identity lies, in part, with these things and the people I've been around. To lose these things, I feel as if I lose a part of myself, or who I am.

I know I'm awfully sentimental this way. More than I should be. Sometimes it's just hard for me to shake my memories. And maybe in some ways that's actually a good thing more than a bad thing. I've learned it does help to think of the good times during the bad ones. There's hope in doing that. I just hope there'll be more good ones ahead.

I then began thinking about what job I may have five, ten, fifteen years from now. I wondered where I might be living. I wondered if I'd have a family of my own by then, or if I'd have completed writing what would hopefully be a bestseller novel, or accomplish any of the other hopes and dreams I've had. And as I looked out at the lake and thought again of God's beauty, I just felt His reassuring me not to worry, that there would indeed be plenty of good times ahead, new friends to make, and plenty of new memories to have and to hold onto.

I felt so at peace about that.

3 comments:

Jim Jordan said...

Sounds like a great place to work. God is right to tell us not to worry; doesn't add one day to your life. As for me, I have a front row seat to the collapsing South Florida economy show and yet He keeps me calm. Regards.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Brandon.

I, likewise, am a teacher (middle school), and I can relate to the sense of fulfilment and loss in the profession. A teacher gives so much to the students--which is what we are supposed to do--but then they move on and the relationship is altered, even if we have the privilege of seeing them again. Every spring I get this melancholy cloud because I have become so relationally connected with my students. I have opened my mind and soul to them, and I gave some of my soul away. The LORD replenishes me, however. Exactly two weeks from today I will see familiar faces and new ones and the journey starts again. I am filled with hope and anticipation. The mercies of the LORD are new every morning and for a teacher, so are the opportunities to "touch a life forever."

Thanks for sharing your heart, B!
--Craig

Brandon said...

Thanks, Craig. I hope you have a great school year ahead of you, full of blessings. :)