Where Oh Where Did My Little Blog Go?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Auld Lang Syne...

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?

It's a song that kicks off the New Year in many countries around the world. Many people immediately identify the melody, but precious few understand the lyrics. It's a song that poses a question... A question that invites reflection... Reflection that can lead to new beginnings. What is "Auld lang syne"? Taken from an old ballad, printed in the year 1711... it literally means "old long since", which is interpreted as "days (or times) gone by"...

At the beginning of each New Year, I reflect on the past - sifting experiences through a social, emotional, and spiritual "colander". It's all a matter of reflection, and the questions loom... What to carry into the new year, and what to leave behind?

I have come to realize that each and every experience is invaluable. It's not a matter of what should be preserved and what should be forgotten, but rather a choice... the choice of whether to let go of, or grow from, the "days and times gone by".

I don't believe in regret. Each and every mortal experience takes a beautiful place in the quilt of life. Some experiences are good, while some are bad, but all of them (once pieced together) become the beautiful patchwork textures, patterns, and colors that define who we are spiritually, individually... They are the tattered pieces that contribute to our unique spiritual being. As I unfurl the patchwork craft that represents my life, invariably there are flaws. There are pieces that are much too big, illustrating lessons that took far too long to learn. There are pieces that are way too small which represent extremely impulsive choices that resulted in equally unpredictable outcomes. Some of the patchwork pieces are composed of thick, heavy, dark fabrics and represent periods of frustration, loneliness, despondency, and depression. The bright colored, lightweight squares boast of childbirth, joyous events, achievements, and successes.

Perhaps most notable, are the oddly shaped patches. They don't easily fit with the others... their misshapen composition make them difficult to "quilt" and compromise the contour of the entire work. These patches represent the bitterness of rejection. I have noticed that one of these oddities is quite large, dark, heavy, tattered and worn... it's a profoundly important piece and represents an extremely important aspect of my past. At the very center of that piece is an emptiness... a hole that desperately needs mending, but seems to get larger with time. It's interesting... as I look at my quilt - that patchwork piece has an overwhelming presence... and reflects the fundamental, familiar relationships of my childhood; the ghosts of "days gone by"...

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and days or times gone by?

Recently, I have spent a great deal of time studying that patchwork piece and the relationships that it represents. The dark, heavy threads illustrate the disappointment of rejection with the realization that the huge "misfit patch" at the core of my existence symbolizes the people that should have been the most significant in my life... the childhood relationships that traditionally serve a mortally sacred purpose. Despite the disappointment, I am learning to appreciate the unique beauty of every patch, and it's significance in a much greater "whole".

Sometimes, I wish I could eliminate the hurt... forget the "old acquaintances", and the "days or times" they represent, then I am reminded of the importance of each tattered patch in a collective masterpiece... a divinely beautiful patchwork "self". I am who I am because of the "days and times gone by". With every painful fiber of each awkward patch, the greatest attributes of my existence have evolved. I have been blessed with empathy and compassion for all of God's children.

While watching the movie "It's A Wonderful Life" over the Christmas Holiday, I noticed a quote on a wall in a touching scene that read... "The only thing you can take with you is what you give away." Experiencing rejection teaches the value of acceptance... likewise, surviving criticism paves the way to understanding. Some of the greatest gifts of my life resonate from a greater capacity for love.

I have been greatly blessed by those "misfit" patchwork pieces. In a home full of children with special needs, the disappointment of the past has become a profound blessing in my life through an ability to "see" and truly understanding the unique challenges in the lives of my children. I have learned to appreciate each patch in the divine composition of a beautifully flawed masterpiece.

I love my quilt. I am thankful for every piece, and what the "patchwork" of life has taught... what it has yet to teach... and, especially, Auld Lang Syne...

Happy New Year