Find your past – help the future
I have discovered over the past few days that there is merit in going backwards so that you can learn to go forward. Or at least make an attempt. Allow me to explain.
Last Thursday evening we had a wee movie night, and we watched the Matt Damon movie “Downsizing.” It’s not an exceptional movie; the world is in a precarious state and a Norwegian researcher discovers how to make humans perfectly functional at five inches tall. Smaller humans equals less space, less consumption, less waste, and if everyone gets on board, Earth stands a chance at recovering herself. Overpopulation, global warming, greed, human folly, they’re all presented in the film. Lofty topics, to be sure, and it’s up to the viewer to decide if they agree with how the film handles them. The handling didn’t matter for me so much as the presentation. I hear about climate change on the radio almost every day, but for some reason, this film really made me sick with worry for our poor planet. And it made me re-evaluate the role I play.
Then the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its fifth assessment report over the weekend. It tells us that we have about a decade to turn this ship around or, small or not, Earth won’t be able to recover from the damage we humans have done. That did little to raise my spirits.
My mood shifted on Saturday morning, I attended a funeral for the step-mother of a dear friend. It was at the Sunderland United Church, the church I went to when I lived in Sunderland. As the minister began the service, I felt a wave of peace wash over me – it was so startling that I remember shaking my head a little. What had caused this? Was it Rev. Hills’ voice? Was it my surroundings? Was it the words he’d spoken? I couldn’t tell you what exactly he said (something quite along the lines of “Welcome, everyone. We are gathered here today in God’s house etc., etc.). It wasn’t so terribly remarkable. But upon reflection, I realized that his words had suddenly taken me back to the time that I attended church quite regularly, and heard those words more often. And I realized that that memory had, in that moment, wrapped me in a warm blanket, of sorts. I remembered the warmth, the fellowship, the time with my children when I went to church, both here in Canada and especially in Switzerland. I had long since come to the conclusion that it was the fellowship of church that I really valued; I had too many issues with “organized religion” and ultimately felt like a hypocrite going to church. I loved the people, but I was constantly struggling with the content.
I left the service still mulling this little epiphany, and discussed it with my husband as we drove to Peterborough to attend a 50th wedding anniversary celebration. Little did I know that I was going to receive another slap upside the head there. The party was for a couple that I have known my entire life. The man and my father became fast friends when they were 10 years old, and my father stood as best man at the couple’s wedding in 1968. I know them and their daughters like my own family, so it was, essentially, going to a family party. I had thought that I was going to “represent,” as it were. My parents have been gone for 11 years, so it was my job to go and take their place. But it ended up being so much more than that. We looked at photos (my dad didn’t even have hair then!), we told stories, the usual stuff, and had a wonderful, wonderful time. But later on, when we were home, I regaled my girls with stories of my visits to the motel this couple owned back in the 80s. Stories of when their eldest daughter came to visit us for weeks at a time during the summer. I took a real time travel trip, and realized again that going into the past was giving me a different perspective on the present. It was giving me a sense of whole that I haven’t been feeling lately. Oh, that doesn’t mean that I’m unhappy, not at all. Quite the contrary, in fact. I’m quite blessed and loving my life at the moment. I’ve just been really busy, and the busy-ness has caused me to lose touch with things that are important to me. I think the funeral and the anniversary put me back in touch with what I have been, and encouraged me to re-unite that with what is now. I’ve really been trying to stay connected to that unity over the past couple of days, and am going to try my hardest to keep it going.
Nice, Lisha, but how the heck does this connect to climate change, you ask? I’ll tell you. I think that we can help our Earth along and figure our crap out in the next 10 years, but we have to stop only looking forward – what can we do, what can we earn, what can we get, what can we create? We have to look back and reconnect with when we, as people, used the Earth only for what we needed, and respected what it could give us. My busy-ness, if left untempered, could drive me to extinction. I caught it. Our global busy-ness, and business, will drive us to extinction if not seriously tempered soon.
Go find your past – it may help our future.