Retroactive Providence

It’s always good to remember the classics.

One of Karen’s favorite weekend activities is watching a movie. Or, to be more exact, multiple movies. I groaned a bit when she started streaming You Can’t Take It With You from Netflix a couple of hours ago, as I felt I had better things to do. I really didn’t feel as though I had the time to watch a black-and-white oldie that I’d never heard of.

Film is an art form in the history of which I’m not well-versed. Thus, there are many “classics” I haven’t seen. Karen is always amazed by my answering negatively to the now-infamous question in our marriage, “Have you seen _____?” In turn, I’m always amazed when she isn’t familiar with music that I thought anyone would have heard. We all have our interests. I’ve been taken by how excellent a movie this has been tonight, very pleasantly surprised. The quality of story and of acting is a higher level that we normally see today. It’s always important to be able to reference turning points in any art form. How could one be conversant in modern rock music, for example, without being somewhat familiar with Led Zepplin or the Beatles?

Likewise in our lives, it is important to be able to recall critical events, events that have turned our lives in a direction to form us as we are today. Some of the most important of those events were often less than pleasant, even painful ones. After all, discomfort, as C.S. Lewis points out, tends to turn our attention to where it needs to be most effectively. This morning, it occurred to me that my life is in a similar situation as it was several years ago. That time in my life was a critical crossroads, but, while eschewing details, a painful and difficult one. While not painful today, Karen and I find ourselves at a crossroads again, and had this morning’s thoughts not found their way into my consciousness, I fear I would have proven forgetful of the lessons learned years ago. Knowing that history repeats itself when forgotten, I’m glad that I was granted remembrance today. I’ll even say thankful, because I learned long ago that these sorts of things can’t be attributed to mere coincidence.

A strong theme in You Can’t Take It With You is providence. I find that to be a strong theme in our life, as well, and it is that providence that I am comfortable with as we prepare to make major life decisions, a knowledge that, as I heard said today, the things at work that we can’t see are bigger than the ones that are visible.

Let us all endeavor to remember our past as we strive toward our future.

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