CommunityNewsPeopleRon Baker

A Moving Struggle

As you will know, my life has been in transition. We are moving to Calgary and I choose the word “transition” to characterize this stage of life. Others might call it upheaval, or renewal, or merely a new chapter in life.

I’m inclined to call this a new book in an ongoing series.

This book series called “my life” is not Utopian – a telling of my life story that lets me disappear into the magical “happy everafter”. If that were the case, I might be satisfied to sit back, eyeing the past and the future as though nothing could tip the boat.

But life is suffering. I don’t say that in a negative way. Reality leads me to understand that in this life there will be troubles. But I don’t have to be afraid. If anything, with God on my side, I am left to enjoy a ride that thrills and chills and brings true satisfaction.

For this past while I have been digitizing boxes of memories. Forty-five boxes don’t need to move to Calgary when a few hard drives can harbour these rememberings. I bought a great digital scanner that has made this go so much faster than feeding individual items onto a scanner bed. A manual feed takes minutes – the automatic feed takes seconds. And out pops a digital format of the physical item.

But, with all the convenience of modern technology, I’m longingly looking over words and pictures – reminiscing and recalling. The time goes a bit slower.

In the digitizing I have found a sense of comfort – the content will be saved. But at the same time I’m wondering, why have I saved these items? If it is only for my enjoyment – that will end in a few years. Saving this memorabilia needs a future goal as well.

Recently a friend of mine remarked, upon reading his deceased mother’s journals, that they should be burned. They were almost too intimate and vulnerable. At the same time the son spoke of the lessons learned in the journals.

There is a tricky tightrope to walk when sharing the private and intimate times of life. On the one hand, sharing allows for vulnerability – a trait that encourages others in their own times of trouble. On the other hand wide accessibility means trolls and people who are mad will unjustly desecrate the memory of a loved one.

And so, my current struggle is to curate the records before others see them. Where the tough times have resulted in grace and humility – make that the focus without having to share all the struggle. Where the struggle is instructive towards maturity and health – let that emerge.

The name of this new book in the series of my life?

I haven’t quite figured that out yet, and maybe the title will only emerge once this next section of my life is done. But for the moment, I’m focusing on finding what matters more than merely saving past artifacts.

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