A few months ago caught up with a friend with whom I served a mission with from 1987-1989. He told me about his schooling, career and family. Over the course of twenty minutes he brought me up to speed on what he’s doing today and we laughed about our many shared experiences trying to convince German we weren’t crazy for attempting to teach them about our beliefs.
When it was my turn, I began telling him what I’ve been up to for the past dozen years or so.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that I told him what I did when we immediately returned from Germany before skipping ahead six years to 1995. I’m certain this isn’t the first time I’ve done that because I’ve worked hard to erase that six year period spanning from 1989 to 1995 from my mind.
But talking about it again would give it life. Possibly even meaning. I’d better slice it off like a cancerous tumor before it returns.
For the past sixteen years I’ve tried to forget about period because it’s a reminder of the darkest time of my life and ultimately my largest failure. Of course, it’s foolish of me to assume I can simply erase a stretch of growth and conflicting actions. We tend to remember the spikes.
Then last week Kim and I had lunch while the kids were in school. On the drive home I referenced a concert we attended together. The long pause that followed give me time to reconsider my memory of the event which, on second thought, took place a few years before we met. I’d accidentally referenced an event that took place during the No-Fly-Zone of my life.
In years past, I would have quickly changed the subject or done anything to remove the awkward silence that follows a miscue of that degree. In all honestly, I would have done that on this day as well.
But that wasn’t how it worked out because Kim giggled, then turned to me and said, “Ha! That must have been someone else!”
The levity she brought to that drive home was much appreciated. And what I’ve realized since is that she’s always accepted not just the person she’s known since 1997, but the person I was before we met. Including those six years.
We accept not just the person we’ve known for a short period of time, but also the years and experiences leading up to that time. I’m slowing coming to terms with that time of my life I’ve tried to erase. Yet I understand that many of the decisions I made back then are a directly related to where I am today.
There’s time to sort through it. And I need to sort through it because I know the day is coming where my children will have questions, and I can’t just skip over that part of my life like I did with my friend.
Yesterday I brought up a video of Wonderwall from Oasis on my computer. Luca pulled a chair next to me, and we watched together. I told her this is one of my favorite songs, and explained how it reminds me of the year I left Utah for Seattle. She recently began playing the cello and was thrilled when one showed up on screen just before the chorus.
When the song ended, she asked me two questions:
“What year was it when you moved to Seattle?” and “Will you play that again?”