An Old Grad School Musing

One of the ways we have available to us now is digitally chronicling our lives. There’s time hop and then Facebook shortly jumped on that bandwagon with their On This Day feature. Well today I found something I wanted to share here.

It’s a note I wrote on Facebook entitled: Why Textual Culture is both giving me and helping me through an existential dilemma. Textual Culture was one of the classes I was taking the semester after I got engaged and ended up being one of my favorite classes from my time in grad school (definitely top five). The note kind of speaks for itself so I won’t preface it any further. I’m so glad it popped up today:

I have tagged you in this note either because I know you’ve lost someone this year or I greatly respect your ideas about life and theatre. Or both. I also ran out of tagging capability before I could get to everyone…

Yesterday in textual culture,  Professor Menzer posited that the greatest theatrical events are also the saddest because theatre is ephemeral, the transience leaves us with a longing to experience that specific event again, which can never be. In true mirror up to nature form, I think perhaps the same axiom is true of human lives. This is true in the microcosm of lives: the best moments are what bring painful nostalgia (Will I ever go a week without a sharp heartache to return to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival?) But it also seems true in the big picture: The most wonderful lives are the most grievous to realize we don’t get back again. I have experienced this feeling too much this year and I have watched others experience the same, some even greater losses. In a strange way it really helped me to remember that the grief is attached to an immense amount of love and greatness. I just thought I would offer up this idea I’ve been musing over the past several hours and send it out to the world in the hopes that it would either be a shred of comfort or a forum for good thoughts. If it does neither I am sorry and I hope you will take the knowledge of my love and prayers as remonstrance. (And that goes for others I ran out of room to tag or those I didn’t think of in my morning haze of writing this…)

“The pain I feel now is the happiness I had before. That’s the deal.”-C.S. Lewis

“Blessed are they who mourn. They shall be comforted.” -Matthew 4:4

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2 thoughts on “An Old Grad School Musing

  1. Thank you so much for posting this blast from the past. I’m feeling a lot of these same emotions now, as we gear up to make another big change. But I’m also taking a lot of comfort from some wise words written to Harriet the Spy. “If you’re missing me, I want you to know that I am not missing you. Gone is gone. I never miss anything or anyone because it all becomes a lovely memory. I guard my memories and love them, but I don’t get in them and lie down. You can even make stories from yours but they don’t come back. Just think how awful it would be if they did. You don’t need me now. You’re…old enough to get busy at growing up to be the person you want to be.” This is a little more extreme than I’d like to be. I miss things. I feel the ache of leaving even now before I’ve left, and I think that that’s not only a pain but a joy. However, I’ve also been totally guilty of getting inside my memories and lying down. Wallowing, if you will. I hope that as we make this next move I’ll find a healthier balance.

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    • I thought I replied to this earlier but that quote is lovely. I’m with you. I miss things and could do well to get inside them and lie down in them a bit less. But sometimes I also get inside them a bit and it gives me this great thrill about how one formative event led to another and how grateful I am for so many things. As you said, the balance is such a great thing to strive for!

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