I have always been of the mind that no matter how difficult the time is that you are going through, at some point down the road you will look back and realize that it all happened for a reason.
My mind drifts back to childhood, as it often does with old farts like yours’ truly. I was a collector, like every other kid on the block. I collected comic books, newspaper clippings about the space race, baseball cards, and various Revell rocket models from the space program. These things were all highly valued by little kids, but we just crammed them into cardboard boxes in our closets when we tired of them. Or worse yet, clipped them to the downtubes of our Schwinn bicycles so that they made artificial motorcycle noises as they smacked the spokes. This collection grew to monstrous proportions until one fateful day when we moved. Upon arriving at our new home, I discovered that the collection was gone, sucked into some vortex somewhere by forces beyond my control.
My mother never admitted to it but I am reasonably certain that it all ended up at the land fill. All of that crap would probably be worth something today, but I guess that means I would have had to carry it around on my back for 40 plus years like a nomad in the desert.
I said all that to say this … I learned something. Things are temporary. Those particular things are all gone from this world, rotting in some dump somewhere. I still have the memories and no one can take those away. Well, maybe they can be taken away as my mind deteriorates with age. Maybe that is why old bastards like myself are always talking about the good old days. The things are gone, but the memory remains. So instead of hoarders, we become nostalgically wistful for times gone by.
We’re always talking about the “good old days” before there were any assholes in the world, as if that were ever true. There have always been assholes and there will always be assholes, our own self being chief amongst them. I am reminded of a speech by Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings, which I think captures very eloquently the thoughts in my head.
I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy?
How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.
Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.