Monday, December 12, 2011

Thoughts on Nostalgia

nostalgia, n. a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.

ORIGIN late 18th century (in the sense 'acute homesickness'):  modern Latin (translating German Heimweh, 'homesickness'), from Greek nostos 'return home' + algos 'pain'.

I am feeling nostalgic today.  I was listening to recordings of my dad - who died earlier this year - playing French horn.  He played in the symphony in my home town in California. I never got to hear him play due to the fact that he was in a motorbike accident when I was four years old.  I am thankful for the recordings, but I always wish I could have heard and seen him play in person.

I like the origins of the word 'nostalgia'.  There is a pain in knowing you can never 'return home', isn't there? It conveys so well this longing - this deep, deep longing - that will never be fulfilled this side of eternity.

Change is hard.  It speaks to the fact that our eternal souls, bound in mortal bodies, were not meant for loss and separation and this 'cutting off' that came with sin and free will and all things 'human'. We long for stability - for a place that will always be there when we need a haven or retreat from the (sometimes) harsh realities of this world.  And unfortunately, sometimes that place is not there; hence the pain - this wandering about the earth looking for a home that no longer exists...

I'm not feeling very philosophical or able to argue intelligibly today; I just miss my daddy.

6 comments:

Majestically Blessed said...

I don't know how to explain this, but what you wrote, is exactly how I felt today. I miss my Dad, my condolences for your loss, I wish I was as close with mine as you seem to have been with yours.

Isn't it amazing how the longing comes and goes at the most weirdest of moments, but how after realizing that "Accepting things we cannot change..." is sometimes the only way to move on and just learn to keep our faith in God to make it right and better someday so that the longing exists no more.

Dan Erickson said...

What to do with loss is a problem. There are creative things to do with loss, but most of us either ignore it or wallow in it. I like your balance here.

Annie said...

I'm sorry for your loss as well. And yes, it's so strange how the longings come and knock us over like a surprise wave that washes over us when we were least expecting it. And you are so right - in God all of our longings are met. Thanks for the reminder; I kind of left today on a depressing note.

Elisabeth said...

I understand you completely, Annie. The last few weeks have been difficult to put into words. How does one explain that there's a part of them missing having a Daddy in their life-especially when one may not have actually EVER experienced a good relationship with one? I often wonder how it is I miss having that closeness when I never actually have. Then I remember something Lewis said:
If I find within within myself a longing for which nothing in this world can satisfy, I can only conclude that I was not created for this world at all." This tells me that I long for Daddy because I have had and DO have one. And I need to learn to call on Him as such. My Abba:)

Jeff said...

Elisabeth's mention of Lewis in her comment is what I identify with in your "Nostalgia" writings, Annie. Though the days are long at times, we are not here for as long as some might think. I don't see this having ended on a non-philisophical note at all, quite the contrary!

Annie said...

Thanks, Jeff.