Oh boy

So, it really started to hit me, what I’m doing, when I started packing away my icons. It’s extremely hard to do, to be separated from them. It’s exactly like packing away the family pictures. And with it comes a flood of emotion that I’ve been forcefully avoiding. For more than half my life I’ve lived here in Berkeley, almost all of that time in this same room in the same house. I’ve been brutal in throwing away nostalgic items that I’ll simply have no room for: little knick-knacks, trinkets, ephemera. In this there is an element of cleansing, but also, it seems, a slightly inhuman and ungrateful devaluation of the past. We are who we are made by our experiences, for better or worse. Now I’ll be lacking some physical reminders of those influences. Having a peculiar memory, whole periods of my life and groups of friends long scattered to the winds are called to mind by a bookmark, a coaster, a ticket, and so on. I’m mixed in my evaluation of this. I realize it’s natural, and appreciate the friendships and the postive (and even some of the negative) experiences that have contributed toward who I am now, but too much focus on them is a distraction, too much a thing of looking over one’s shoulder rather than watching where you’re going. This, I think, is a fine example demonstrating why the neptic Fathers warn against nostalgia. I can also, because of this experience, see the reason to warn against posessions. This is an educational experience.

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7 Responses to Oh boy

  1. Mark James says:

    Kevin, Please explain why you are moving and tossing stuff. I guess I missed that blog entry. You aren’t going to a monastery, right? You’ll keep blogging, right?

    • I’m going to be starting seminary at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts. Next week I move, but tomorrow my stuff moves. We will be rejoined at the school (eventually, hopefully).

      I do intend to keep blogging. In fact, I think it’ll bring me back to blogging much more regularly. I’ve been slacking off lately. But reading new things always stimulates ze leetle grey cells, and as I will be reading many new things, and experiencing many new things in a new place and, really, starting a new life, there will be plenty to write about.

  2. Nancy says:

    The fun thing about packing and moving is the adventure of unpacking the memories that get to make the trip. From birth to about the age of 50, my family moved pretty much every 2-4 years due to military affiliations. So, I have always been a bit brutal at tossing memorabilia…mine and those of other family members, as I was mostly the packer and the librarian of the stuff that survived the cut…*; ) Take heart, great memories still pop in ever so often even without the baggage…*: )

  3. Michael James says:

    Kevin, I’m way late in a reply here but just found your blog. Since you seem to be a fan of The Screwtape Letters might I recommend #15 in reference to your “current” (now long past) situation. I’m sure you are familiar with it, but other readers may not be. I think it is a wonderful treatise on both worry and nostalgia. Best of luck in your studies!

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