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…

1 thought on “Past is Prologue

  1. You got me. I was reading along and than pow! Oh to go back and give a kiss on the cheek, an apology. Wouldn’t that be sweet. I would stop and listen with more attention. Faye comes to mind. Really good blog.

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