Monday, June 15, 2015

Beware Nostalgia!

A few years back I read those words in a book. "Beware nostalgia", Jean Vanier said in reply to someone who was wondering if she had left her previous mission place too soon (Jean Vanier Essential Writings, page 56). I never really thought much about those words, though they stuck in my mind. The other day, though, the words really spoke to me personally. 

Jean Vanier's words and the conversation I had with some friends helped me a great deal in dealing with my nostalgic feelings and angst. Suffice it to say that if friendship were an entity, I had been holding on to its dying body all these years because I couldn't yet let go of the nostalgia. I kept holding on to the good that we had had together, hoping that the body would function better if only I kept on trying to give it CPR. However, my efforts only made me more resentful, because an imbalanced friendship never works. I tried lowering down my expectations a few times, but apparently the CPR I kept on giving to the dying body only acted like a venom to my own psyche. The venom of unmet expectations. When one wants and longs to give more time and effort, but one needs to hold back because the other party cannot give as much anymore, it is a loss. It is devastating to turn a forever friendship into a no-strings-attached (acquaintance-like) friendship.

The body of friendship was dying, so I had to let it go completely. No more holding on to nostalgia to keep the body alive. This time I arranged a sea burial in my mind. I placed the dying body on a raft and set it to burn. The waves carried the burning raft away to the darkened horizon. After a while, my gaze turned to the sky, where the stars were twinkling away...and I feel lighter.

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