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I heard that Dan Fogelberg died recently. He was an amazing singer-songwriter back in the day. I was young in the 60s and 70s, when the greatest music ever was created. (Okay, I’m a little biased, but I haven’t heard anything like it these days.) As I listened to his songs, Leader of the Band, Run for the Roses, and Same Old Lang Syne, I realized what a true poet he was.

In the song Same Old Lang Syne, he talks about meeting an old girlfriend in a grocery story, and what an awkward moment it was. They shared a couple of drinks, and sat in the car and talked about old times. She said that she had heard his music, and he must be doing well. He said, “The audiences are heavenly, but the traveling is hell.” She then says that she married an architect that “kept her warm and dry. She’d like to say she loved the man, but she didn’t like to lie.” (Can you say more than that in two simple sentences?)

After they talk a little more, they go their separate ways. It made me think of opportunities lost, and people who settle for less than they should have. And how no matter how much you want to, you can’t “go home again.” Some things are for a time and season, and when that time has passed, it cannot be resurrected. While the memories are sweet, they don’t translate into the present, because they can’t. You have changed, and you can’t go back. You can only go forward.

It made me think of my life and loves. I have known the pure love of a child/teenage girl, with a marriage at 17, that lasted 7 years. We grew up and apart, but it was genuine love at the level we were capable of. Still, I have bittersweet memories of that time of my life. We sang together professionally, and we were hippies together (on the weekends anyway) in Atlanta. It was a time of innocence and naivety. Bell bottom jeans, long hair, incense, folk music, acoustic guitar, first love, etc.

And I have also known a wild and passionate love as a woman, and to this day, it nurtures my soul and spirit. And while there are times of drifting apart, the love abides. Shared experiences, and a history that no one else knows. Like a tapestry that is woven over time, I am glad that the knot has been tied, so that it didn’t come unraveled. For I do not have the time, inclination, or patience to weave it again. (And nothing could possibly surpass the original.) To know someone intimately is a gift. To be known by someone that way is also a gift. We are comfortable, yet still a mystery to each other.

As I look back over my life, do I have regrets? I would be lying to say “absolutely none,” But we play the hand we’ve been dealt, right? And we have to believe that nothing we have ever experienced is without purpose of some sort. We are building character. And while you can’t take your achievements to heaven, you can take your character. It is who you are, and who you will be for all eternity.

So I say “Auld Lang Syne” to you. It means “days gone by”, “old long since”, and sort of a “once upon a time.” Some people sing the song as a funeral dirge, and others sing it with hope for the future. For some it holds only memories of the past, and for others the promise of tomorrow. Life is like that too, isn’t it? So I wish for you memories of the past, and hope for the future, and all the dreams you have yet to realize…


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