I thrive on nostalgia. If you have spent any length of time with me you know my love for old music, movies, t.v. shows. etc. These things like few others take me back to some place way back when. So many songs take me back to moments in my life that in many ways have shaped who I am today. I hear Sheryl Crow's "All I Wanna Do Is Have Some Fun" and I go back to the back seat of my mom's car. It's a Saturday afternoon. The sun is shining. With her window rolled down and a Virginia Slim light burning slowly in her hand, I feel the happiness and joy of a little boy in the security and comfort he only feels with his mom. I hear Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Pride and Joy" and think of dancing with my mom in the kitchen. One hand around my shoulder and another holding a glass of White Zinfandel, we dance and laugh. I watch Mrs.Doubtfire and think of the hundreds of times I probably watched that movie at my dad's house every other weekend. Though it still makes me laugh, I can still feel the loneliness and fear I often felt while being there. I hear Hootie and the Blowfish's "Hold My Hand" and remember how I played it the first time I held Jackie's hand (I am so corny, I know).
I could bore you with countless other songs and movies, but you get the point. So whether the time is good or bad, these things from my youth grab my heart and in some small way take it back to that place. I think the reason I often thrive on these things is that they serve as a kind of escape. I know how those days turned out. I can rest in the security of knowing that whether it was a good or bad day, I got through it. I don't have to worry about how it ends. But I don't have the same privilege with today. Today is scary. Not because bad things are happening or because they might happen, but because I don't know what is going to happen. Instead of resting in the knowledge that I serve a loving and capable God, I run to the past for security. I allow my heart to be taken to another place by a song or something like it and try to escape my lack of knowledge in how today is going to end. I'm weak. My heart is so fragile. It can be picked up with the simplest thing and taken back down with the slightest hiccup.
Ultimately my love for nostalgia is a longing for peace, a longing for comfort and tranquility. I can think of a handful of times when I felt true rest. Once in an airplane going to visit my dying great-grandmother, I saw the sunrise from my window seat 10,000 feet above the ground. It was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. I truly forgot where I was and what I was doing. It was like my heart was taken to another place. I felt closer to Heaven than I ever had before or since. I believe that day God gave me a taste of what it will be like in Heaven. My obsession for peace and tranquility is at the core of my very being. It drives me. By God's grace, He opened my eyes and revealed Himself as the fulfillment of my deepest longings. C.S. Lewis in "The Problem of Pain" has a chapter on Heaven where he refers to this driving longing within each of us as the "signature of the soul". He goes on to say that in this life we have mere glimpses of it. But God has placed this in each of us so that we might have it fulfilled in Him. Lewis says, "Your soul has a curious shape because it is a hollow made to fit a particular swelling in the infinite contours of the divine substance, or a key to unlock one of the doors in the house with many mansions...But God will look to every soul like its first love because He is its first love. Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it - made for it stitch by stitch as a glove is made for a hand" (pg.85).
I say all of this to remind you along with myself that the deepest longings we have at the core of our being were put there by God so that He could one day satisfy them. So we need to learn that seeking these through pitiful, earthly things is utter foolishness. It is a waste of time and energy as only One can and ultimately will be our true and absolute satisfaction and rest. Until then, my weak heart will always love nostalgia.