Tuesday, October 6, 2015

OCTOBER 5 "BEWARE OF NOSTALGIA"

The Psalmist is reminiscing of the "good 'ol days of old". Nostalgia..."a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact, to a former time in one's life".  Beware of nostalgia, it sometimes brings to us good memories of the past but it can also create of false impression of the past and create in our minds and feelings, what never was! Nostalgia also has the ability to create a discontentment for the present, while longing for the past.  A song, a smell, certain seasons & smells or deja-vu's can immediately create a sense of nostalgia. If we can appreciate them and move on, that's fine, but if it creates a longing for the past, that's not fine. Beware of nostalgia, it's a slippery slope. It can create utopia's out of what was really a nightmare chapter of our lives. When we were in that chapter of our lives, we couldn't wait to get out, now, we are reminiscing...thinking, "those were the good 'ol days..." were they really? This is the state of mind of the Psalmist, in our reading today, it's a very melancholy state of mind. The Psalmist goes from nostalgia to "do I still have a song in the night to sing" and this is the problem with nostalgia, it creates a discontentment for the present and steals our song away for the present. And let's say for arguments sake, that there is a valid argument that the past was better, then contend for your present and future. Cry out to the God who's promise is that our best years are not to be behind us, but in front of us. Cry out to the God who saves his "best for last". It's not God that has created a life for us that makes us long for our past, it's our decisions. It's the decisions that Israel has made that puts them in this state of melancholy, not God. Longing for our past, for "the days of 'old" not only depresses us but jeopardizes our future. I am not a big fan of nostalgia or melancholy, though I am just as susceptible to them as anybody else.  I do and can get caught up in both. I can relate to the Psalmist, but I must shake myself loose of it's grip and quote another Psalm, "oh my soul, why so downcast within me, put your faith and hope in God!". Melancholy is like the food that makes us sick, but we continue to consume, why? We sit around and purposely listen to songs of the past and bring ourselves into this state of mind, why? Why do we poke at a scab, why do we play with a sore tooth with our tongue, why do we agitate an infection, is there a little of a masochist in each of us? I believe the answer to that is yes. Beware of nostalgia, beware of playing and manipulating your emotions, you may find one day, that you are now caught in a state of melancholy and cannot get out. Jesus mentioned over and over in the Gospels, that our portion is "joy" and "that your joy may be full". Some of us, may like to get down, down, down and then get high, high, high....we like the fluctuation of emotions rather than being stoic, but emotions are not to be played with. Are you caught up in nostalgia and melancholy? Shake yourself out of it before you get so low, you cannot get out, "oh my soul, why so downcast within me?!"