20 August, 2013

No Regrets

A post on Aaron Outward posed the question "If you were to die tonight, would you be happy with your life?" As I played with that thought, I recalled that few years ago a colleague looking around my office said, "You are a Collector.” I quickly replied, “Not really. Just Hard Rock Café pins. It’s a silly hobby.” “No, you are a Collector.” And I paused.

I paused because I’ve learned to ponder further when people repeat themselves, when they are being insistent. There is something in the repetition that suggests importance, that suggests I should examine again what I was thinking, that suggests perhaps I am being taught something about myself.

So I tried it on for size. I told myself “I am a Collector.” Okay, but now I was left to wonder what I collect. Yes, I do have a collection of pins - hundreds, in fact. I suspected, however, it wasn't just pins, and I decided to look around. It took a while, and it took some reflection. I now see there is quite a bit more although the why is still being worked on.

In my basement I found Christmas decorations in quantities greater than one could ever possibly display. Everywhere I looked I saw ends and odds who still function as surrogates for friendships once neglected. There were statues and figurines and other works of art representing the beauty of the human spirit. Each of the many sacred but scattered reminders of my father’s honorable life was hard to miss.

Prints, calendars, miniatures, paintings, postage stamps, postcards, books - all sorts of images of lighthouses, those beacons for souls needing help in perilous circumstance, can be found in every corner of my office. Internally, of course, there are valued memory fragments both great and small, some pleasant, some poignant. And as with anyone who has experienced life there are scars uncounted but each representing proof of triumph over adversity.

So, yes, I am a collector, and the chances are that you are too. There are, however, some things I don't want to collect; there are, for example, some memories that perhaps ought not be preserved. What is certain though is that I shall continue to live my life with a determination that I shall never collect regrets. I can't imagine anything sadder.