The Days Turn Into Months, The Months Turn Into Years

Beside the office building where I work in Hillsboro [1] there is an empty, grassy field where people occasionally run around and fly kites and model airplanes. This morning, as I walked into the building at around 7:30AM, there was a mower cutting the grass, and the scent of the cut grass reminded of two aspects of my childhood. For one, it reminded me of the smell of the grass that my grandfather would cut where I grew up in Central Florida with his Toro lawn mower that he would sit on and drive around the two-acre property he owned outside of Plant City. The second thing it reminded me of was the smell of the cut hay and alfalfa during the summer harvest in my family’s farm in Western Pennsylvania. I am not sure that either of those could be considered happy memories, as they remind me of childhood, but it was striking to me, and more than a little bit upsetting, that I should begin work today with the reminder of my youth from the grass on the field next to my office. Perhaps my living in suburban communities since I became old enough to decide where I could live for myself is not so coincidental after all.

Where my mind goes once the spark of a thought is ignited is hard to tell, but it so happens that on the way to work I heard one of my favorite songs from last year [2], a song that is referred to as a “couples skate” by the deejays on the radio station that played it. It reminded me of the fact that in life I tend to wonder a lot about progress. As I come from a farming family, as unwilling as I have been to engage in farming myself, I am well aware of the fact that a farmer labors in fields that require cooperation from elements he cannot control for the harvest that he eager awaits, a harvest that takes months or even years. When one is stuck in a place, and by this I do not mean a geographical place, but rather a situation, that one does not like, one tends to look forward to progress. We expect that we will progress through grades, progress through belts in martial arts, progress through positions ever increasing. We want our romantic relationships to progress from shy flirting to something more lasting and substantial, to take an example not at random. In whatever area of life where we are not where we want to be yet, we want progress.

Yet progress, as important as it is, is only one of three elements that is important in a life. Assuming that we have a target that we are aiming at in terms of how we want to live, there are three elements about where we are and where we are going and where we have been that we must keep in mind. Progress is moving forward in areas that we have not known before, and it carries with it a certain sense of adventure and novelty. Some people, politically and otherwise, can be obsessed with this novelty to the exclusion of all other elements, not recognizing the overall picture it is a part of. In other areas, we are already where we want to be or need to be, but we must simply preserve or conserve what we have. This does not carry with it the pleasure of novelty, but there is a certain comfort in keeping one’s patterns and one’s actions consistent. Many of us, myself included, are creatures of habit, and as long as those habits are good ones we need not feel ashamed of enjoying what is tried and true. There are some people, of course, who look to what needs to be conserved to the exclusion of all other elements. There is still yet a third element, and that is the need to recover what has been lost. Here again there is a sense of thrill in rebuildling the ruins or restoring what has been thought lost and consigned to oblivion, the sort of thrill that an archeologist feels when discovering a city mentioned in the Bible that skeptics have thought never existed, only to lay out a recovery of the past in such a way that it silences the critics, at least temporarily. There are some people, of course, who find any recovery of the past to be unpleasant, and others who can be obsessed with the past to the exclusion of the present and the future.

What is to be remembered is that where we truly want to be combines elements of the past, present, and future. We would not be able to have a longing for a better world, much less a longing for a specific world, unless there was something presently within us that stirred us to action. For us to live well in life, we need something to preserve, even if that is the world that we expect to pass on to our children and to our children’s children, or some institution to whom we claim loyalty like a church or a community or a government. For us to be inspired to live better, we need a vision of a glorious future that inspires us to grow beyond where we are now, lest we remain complacent and miss out on something good. For us to be inspired to remember, we must have something in the past that we wish to recover, something that we desire to see cleaned from the corruption that we see around us. To be sure, the specific aspects of what we wish to progress towards, what we wish to preserve, and what we wish to restore will differ depending on our worldview and our perspective, but if we have any vision in life whatsoever we have some elements of all three within our goals, even if they are in strong variance with others. How many of us will have the chance to wake up and see the harvest we long for, though? Is such a thing unreasonable to hope for and to long for?

[1] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2014/12/10/the-mean-streets-of-tanasbourne/

[2] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/just-for-a-moment-lets-be-still/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Christianity, History, Musings and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Days Turn Into Months, The Months Turn Into Years

  1. Pingback: A Stick Set Fire In The Rain | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: You Never Know Just How To Look Through Other People’s Eyes | Edge Induced Cohesion

  3. Pingback: Scenes From An Oven | Edge Induced Cohesion

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