Nostalgia – looking back from this point to the points before, the things that made sense and the things that didn’t; some things that still don’t make sense. Life skills come from painful lessons – why is that? – and nostalgia comes from seeing from within a soul that is not the same as the soul that experienced the moment being viewed.
Tears form in the burn of eyes unable to bear the relapse to the moment of the event; stomach cramps and shoulders slump – what if? If things had been different, if something different was done at the time, if – if – if. Nothing works with that. We go on because we must. Because life demands it of us. Because at some stage, we need to look back to re-experience the moment, or to pass on the wisdom gained from the pain of that moment, or to share that pain with someone who is in a debilitating pain now.
Is that why we experience those things? Why we feel pain and empathy and need to be with others so they can take some of the load? Is it a lesson in humanity?
I think it is. I think the thing that makes a truly sentient being capable of community is the ability to share and empathise the grief moments – and the joy moments.
We experience the power of that emotional link at the birth of a child, at the death of a parent, at the face of disaster when many people are injured or in danger. It is empathy that is power. We don’t simply ‘feel’ for the person, we experience it, we live it with them, the pain is in our heart as well. It makes it easier to reach out and touch, fold them into our warm moment, let them know they are not alone in this.
Nostalgia – the ability to look back at the things in our life that bring an immediacy due to the emotional aspect of that moment, that memory.
It’s not the rose-coloured glasses; it’s not the fuzzy remembering of things being better than now; it’s not the wish of returning to simpler or better times. We have those moments of nostalgia, of returning to a memory event, because we NEED to do that, we need to share that with others, we need to occasionally remind ourselves of our ability to feel, and how easy it is to reach out, to put an arm around someone in pain, to share their suffering, and thereby make it less.
Memories are for sharing. Nostalgia is a lesson we use to help others.