Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Is Yesterday Still a Friend?

When I was younger, I used to be really arrogant. {*irony meter explodes*} I loved to hear poems or songs or stories and dismiss them as "stupid" because they didn't speak to me. I thought I was so much wiser beyond my years, and that if there was anything to be gathered from a work, I'd be able to gather it--at age twelve.

Daddy and I talked about these things a lot. He was never rude or judgmental, and he never mocked or laughed at me. He would listen to my conceited little tirades about love and life and then suggest that I might come to understand the song better as I experienced life.

My dad's profound strength in humility always caught me a little off guard, and made me at least give lip service to the fact that maybe I didn't know everything.

At twenty, I know more than I did at twelve. However, I'm also acutely aware that I don't know what I'm doing half the time, and the other half I'm quite possibly wrong anyway.

I like to think {and I hope I'm right} that this admission of ignorance has made me less judgmental and more open to new understanding. Now, when I encounter a song, poem, or story that doesn't speak to me, I try not to write it off. I consider it from many angles, play with potential double meanings/puns, apply it to different scenarios, and look for symbolism.

Sometimes, I'm pleasantly surprised. One of my favorite revelations deals with a line from a Shinedown song:

"Now that you've lost tomorrow, is yesterday still a friend?"

A few summers ago, after trying to make sense of that line for a long time, I decided that I had not yet experienced that phenomenon. The words made sense, but the spirit of the concept was lost on me. I decided to continue to love and listen to the song, hoping that someday I would understand what it meant.

I think I finally do.

We live our lives toward a future. Sure, we all have those nights when we decide to live in the moment and make a poor decision {and by that I mean eating that third chocolate bar, of course}, but overall we are goal-oriented people. The way we live our lives today reflects what we're ultimately striving for.

This might mean making good grades...so that you can get into a good college/get a degree.

This might mean investing in a relationship...so that you can spend your lives together.

This might mean saving up your money...so that you can travel over the summer.

More or less every decision is made with "tomorrow" in mind.

But what if you were suddenly disillusioned? What if you suddenly discovered a truth that undermined your future?

What if you realized you had read the wrong chapter in your biology book?

What if you realized your special someone had been lying to you?

What if you misplaced your money?

This new knowledge means that you have lost the "tomorrow" you were striving for.

Knowing what you know today about tomorrow, would you have acted differently yesterday?

Would you have checked the syllabus again?

Would you have demanded answers sooner?

Would you have taken your money directly to the bank?

Now that you've lost tomorrow, is yesterday still a friend?

It's a beautiful, sad question, one that I finally understand. I'm oddly proud to be able to say that. I'm thankful to my dad for teaching me how to listen to things I might not understand, so that I can be prepared to understand them when I'm ready.


1 comment:

  1. Inspired a post of my own, this did. speaking like Yoda in my head, I am.

    Anyway, If you are giving something up without gaining, then yes, you would probably do things differently. But if you are living the life you want, and it doesn't work out, well you still get all those wonderful memories on the way.