Tag Archives: nostalgia

the princess and the past

“I live with nostalgic regrets about everything.”  Sarah Ferguson to Dr. Phil about her self-image after the sting operation last year that brought her to her lowest low after years of making mistakes and messes of her life for the upcoming docu-series on OWN.

Should it define her – that one horrid moment, or even the series of them that brought her there?  Did she do the best she could have with the resources she had at the time?  Or what if she did the worst she could have, knowingly and rebelliously?  Is there no redemption?  Ever?

Robin wrote this last week: 

As moms, we often let the times we act like we wish we wouldn’t, define us.

I get a bit melancholy.  I tend toward “nostalgic regret.” I guess I am thinking about what defines me these days, in my early 50s, getting older and trying not to let the enemy of my soul make the regrets bigger than God’s faithfulness has been; nor bigger than the times I have lived under His wing, in His plan, doing what He chose for me to do beforehand.  God has been good to me, so good. 

He has been good!  His smile warms my life.  In spite of my own self-sabotage at times, He has entrusted things to me, things that, had I been the distributor, I’d never have given.  I wonder why.  Other people do too, I am sure.  And yet, He planned a life for me too good for words.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.  Ephesians 2.10 NLT

The refrain of my life: He is faithful.  He is so faithful.  Has been in all things past, and is, right now. 

Praise the LORD, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit [this is GOOD NEWS, Sarah Ferguson!]
and crowns you with love and compassion, [You can still be royalty-you can still have it all]
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The LORD works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.
The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting
the LORD’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.
Praise the LORD, my soul. 
Psalm 103.1-6,8-18, 22b NIV

Why live in regret when the story of God’s faithfulness isn’t over yet?

Past is Prologue

“The Past is Prologue”  Memory vs. Nostalgia

Some days I get really nostalgic with an actual sort of hunger and bittersweet longing for a person or thing from the past; usually feeling homesick for a place or a time in a sort of regretful kind of way.

Some days I am full of memories and just so grateful for the rich, full remembrances of life. 

Nostalgia makes me yearn, melancholy raring its powerful head, makes me wish for do-overs from earlier times, or for the gift of just going back and seeing things again, the way they once were, but with the wisdom of the years, with understanding so I’d not have missed anything important.

But memories“light the corners of my mind” like Barbra so beautifully sang way back when and are the things on which everything now is built.  They are the building blocks of my present and have added the depth and dimension that cause intricate color patterns that weave in and out of all I have seen and am and will be.  They are epic backstory, the altar of remembrance and the reminder that the story isn’t over.  It is just in the middle somewhere…

“Where are you from or where did you spend most of your growing up years?” was the question. 

Darla and Rachel, Joan and Sherri and I were getting better acquainted.   Such a simple question causes a waterfall of thoughts on the topic.  I have so many short, pat answers I have given over the years. 

I sometimes say, “I am an Iowa girl,”because I was born there and we lived in three different cities where my dad pastored churches in Iowa and then after marrying, Dave and I led a church in a fourth city in the Corn state. 

The house on 1723 York Street, Des Moines

Other times I claim the “near Chicago” as my “home,” because we lived in that little piece of northwest Indiana that ispart of the greater-Chicago-metro area and is actually in Chicago’s time-zone (as opposed to the rest of Indiana) and it is where the Moslanders (Ross-the-Boss, Mrs Moss and all the little Landers) ended up together before we all started leaving home. 

There were the short years in Louisiana… 

But my parents moved…have moved several times since, to different ministries in various cities and states and wherever they go becomes “home.”  I always feel a bit unsettled when they move until I see pictures of the house and google the street and get to go visit.  I need to know where they are.  I need to know where the boxes (the very few that are left) which are holding the photographic proof of our journeys and my life, are being stored. 

So a simple question like,  “Where are you from?” throws me into a few-seconds of a spin, trying to decide how to answer accurately, but without boring them with the tedious details of a dozen different houses and 11 schools during my lifetime, of 12 different communities, some more than once, of living as far north as Minot, North Dakota and as far south as Robert, Louisiana – two locations which were, indeed, worlds apart. 

Where am I from?

And in a nostalgic mood, I get all tender, feeling I am from nowhere.  But in days of remembrance, in times I am grasping what Shakespeare meant when he said, “The past is prologue,” meaning it has all just been preparation for where I am now, all setting up the real story of today, I am grateful for adventures and places, for the people and times I wouldn’t trade.

I look at Darla and Rachael, Joan and Sherri, kind faces waiting to hear a geographical clue to my existence.

“I am not really from any place,” I tell them. I am from a story and I am in the middle of it now.”  Home is where my heart is – and there is a little of my heart in lots of places, or maybe the places are here with my in my heart.  And I am full of wonderful memories of how I arrived here, interesting people who were kind enough along the way to notice my existence and deposit something rich, funny, happy, sad, meaningful or silly treasure into my life.

The older I get, the more I realize the things of value that have been given to me and I get a strong desire to walk where I once walked and look people in the face and say, “I didn’t know it at the time – when we were just ‘passing through’ so I maybe kept a wall between us, but you were part of God’s plan, a gift {even maybe a disruption} for me straight  from Him.” And I’d like to tell people thank-you and kiss them on the cheek and apologize that I just didn’t know.  I didn’t know they were so integral to my story.  I thought I was sometimes too focused on trying to get somewhere, trying to find home/destiny/purpose.  But I see it now.  They were that for me right in that moment.  They were my home.


Dear little Jeanie: why so serious?  God has good stuff planned for you ahead.  So enjoy today.

This kind of treasure is unavailable to the 20-year old. It is gained only by getting older and by understanding the past as prologue to whatever richness I now live in – past is part of it all.  And really just the beginning…