Friday, June 11, 2010

Boxes and Memories

The day was pleasant, the task a simple one. I was sorting and organizing CFA choral music. The boxes were labeled, the shelves filled. Now I just had to deal with the odds and ends. As I sifted through the pile of leftover octavos and songbooks, receipts and sundry papers were discovered. I thumbed through them, discarding most as I went. Then I came upon a 1998 Christmas program.

CFA presents:

Good King Wenceslas:
The King Who Kept On Giving

A Musical Play presented by K-12th graders

I looked it over slowly, carefully fingering this printed red piece of paper that had actually been there - in that place, in that time, with those people. I let the memories flood my mind, the sounds, the sights, the faces, the voices. Costumes, parents, students, funny songs. Lines and lyrics, dances and staging. Rehearsals with quick humor and fun laughter, the chaos of organizing all those students in one large production. It was a great time in my life.

I looked at the names listed on the program - all those precious names of so many young people - as I fingered it again. I contemplated the date: December, 1998. Time has gone by quickly. That season is long behind. Many of those students are adults with families of their own, their children already attending CFA. Other families have moved away. Some have met with tragedy.

Time is seldom kind. It refuses to wait for us. It steals treasured moments away from us, relegating them to memory's keeping at best. It isolates us from past pleasantries and happiness. It pushes, holds back, and is rarely moving at the pace of our choosing. Time makes us wait too long one day, only to find that the day has passed too quickly the next.

Oh, I felt an ache inside; sentimentality touched my heart with the pain that such melancholy brings. I learned some time ago to resist such sentiment. It is too bound to this world, this place that will not last. It is anchored to a system that will be destroyed. It is rooted in time.

But as I held that red colored program in my hand, I touched the past for a moment or two. My heart ached and longed for another time and place. But it cannot be reached. It cannot.

Slowly, reluctantly, and tenderly, I placed the recollection in the box along with the familiar red paper that stirred it; the box was placed on the shelf and the closet door was closed.

It was time to move on - again.