The Last Song

Hindsight is always clear.  The things behind us are certainties while the future offers figments and the present doings of undetermined import.  We are always counting firsts but seldom remember the lasts.  Many times, it is unknowable exactly when we reach the final act, but there can be times we know are the last gasps and final goodbyes.  The poet said that way leads to way, and we come to realize late that our paths lead to unforeseen destinations.  This bittersweet truth lingers in the more settled and sedentary days of reflective living.

The feeling and foreboding that I would not return to stops grew as I traveled through the years.  Though I didn’t know for sure, the idea frequently occurred even in my youth.  I have always been a reflective sort, and my lonely path has offered lengthy periods for thought.  The naturally-occurring idea is constantly reinforced on many fronts, and we understand that our thoughts are not only our own.  Nicholas Sparks wrote The Last Song, and a film was completed seven years ago.  In 1972, Edward Bear sang The Last Song.  I wonder when I’ll sing mine.

High school graduates intone that friends are friends forever, not realizing that such bonds are subject to the wear and tear of life.  Some of them will survive use and normal washings, but many simply deteriorate over time.  In our age, it is more possible for people to rekindle old fires than in former times, but such re-ignitions are subject to varying degrees of sustainability or even desirability.  Our memories can be things of air, vaporous as the morning mist, defying our grasps.  Things appear for a while then vanish, and we go on our ways.

I, sometimes, have fleeting thoughts of people and places lost in the past.  It would be nice to walk up the short sidewalk and into the humble home of the elderly man I knew in Mississippi forty years ago and read his homespun poetry (quite good after its manner).  Ansel McAfee has long gone to heaven, but he lives in my memory as does his small-town church I served in my youth.  I doubt I will ever return to that place, but, if I did, it would probably bear little resemblance to the memories I have carried all these years.

There are places I remember, all my life, though some have changed.  Moments served me as I them, and purposes of the past are no longer relevant.  We are travelers in this life.  While some will not forage as far as others, relatively few will have the ability to anchor in safe and familiar harbors.  My father once told me, “Life is like a river.  It flows.”  We find that our existences are both dissimilar and the same as one environment or event joins seamlessly with the next of varying hue.  A tapestry, indeed, whole and unfinished at any time.

It is in our best interests to live to the fullest since we never know when our lasts may come.  God designed us for motion and adventure.  We are swept along by the tide of life chaotic and by design.  Wandering thoughts lead to wondering minds, and sadness unforeseen is common in reconstruction.  Looking back, rather than weep that our deeds are over, we should smile that they occurred.  The Lord enables us to enrich one another in mutual efforts of varying lengths, and has prepared for us an eternal recollection, reconciliation and rest.

Sterl

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