I suspect we all do it to some extent or another, viewing the past as better than the present, you know, the good old days. For instance, when I was a kid I don’t remember the sun being so hot. We would be outside all day long and I just don’t remember feeling the sun beating down on me like it does today.
Now I don’t really think the sun is hotter, I think that’s the simply the way I remember it because time has a funny way of tempering the temperature of our history.
The other day we were visited in our home by the Right Reverend Leslie from First Presbyterian of Waco. I will always have a special place in my heart for the Right Rev because the first time she ever visited Marty in the hospital she walked in while Marty was alone and started feeding her spaghetti. That’s not an easy thing to feed someone. There are things people have done for you that make a lifelong good impression; gently helping my bride eat spaghetti is one of those.
Sorry, I digress.
The Right Rev is talking to me, talking to Marty and I’m talking to her, probably too much, I do that you know. It’s one of those days where Marty isn’t responding very much and I start thinking, well wishing more than thinking, wishing that the Right Reverend could have known the old Marty, before the strokes robbed us of the old Marty, before the strokes gave us the new Marty.
I’m not sure, but the more I think about it the more I think that’s not a very healthy approach to the here and now. Yeah, it’s good to have memories, it’s good to know what was, it’s okay to miss part of what was but the simple truth is, the sun was as hot back when I was a kid as it is now and what we have to live with is how the sun feels today, right here and now.
My memories of Marty before are mostly good memories but she wasn’t perfect, I wasn’t perfect, our relationship wasn’t perfect. We fought, we cried, we felt pain, we felt anger, we hurt each other and for each other. Yet, yet, the parts of what was are so alluring because somehow, in my revisionist memory, the sun didn’t feel as hot back then.
More importantly longing for what was robs you of what is right now and frankly what is with me, what is with Marty right now, today, is pretty damn good. Do I wish she was back in charge, do I wish she could stand and grab me and kiss me, do I wish she would make some snide remark that would make me do a spit take, do I wish we could talk about the deeper meaning of King Arthur’s Sword, do I wish we could argue about where to park again? You bet I do.
But I/we can never allow that longing for what was short change what we have right here and now.
The today Marty, the Marty Right Rev has met and gotten to know is worth knowing. Marty is a woman who has fought strokes and won. Marty is a woman who has lost the pieces of her she prized the most and she has survived countless indignities with the core of who she is intact. Marty is a woman who has experienced the worst in life and kept living, kept living in spite of her body, in spite of what her body did to her.
What must never be forgotten is that Marty’s core, her soul, the real Marty, the essence of the woman I knew and now know is still there. It’s quieter, it’s more reserved, it’s suffered from catastrophic illness, but her core, her soul, that which is quintessentially Marty is still there.
It all goes back to something Marty told me, almost daily; be in the here and now, accept and embrace what is and don’t worry too much about what was or what will be.
This is easy to say and hard to do on a daily basis. While I relish the idea that the sun was not as hot on 12 year old shoulders as it is on 63 year old shoulders, while I need and want to remember that feeling of the 12 year old boy, I am where I am now, I am with my bride today, not yesterday and she is pretty damn fine today, who cares about the sun anyway.