But just the other day, while searching in vain for a letter I’d filed carefully in one stack of papers or another, I noticed a Post-it note peeking out of the bottom of this particular volume, flagging page 174. I reread the page, wondering why I’d so marked it (I don’t write in these precious old books, as difficult as they can be to find and as costly as they are becoming). And there, towards the bottom of the page, I found the passage that had no doubt arrested my attention, part of the narrator's commentary on her relationship with old friend Caroline:
“Yet we can say to one another, ‘Do you remember?’ And because so much that is real to me is real to no one else now, but Caroline, she will always be dear to me.”
One old friend of mine was so longing for shared memory that she even cultivated a relationship with a second cousin whom she had actively disliked her whole life. “She was so wild and stuck up,” my friend explained. “She never gave me the time of day, so I ignored her too.”
But things are different now.
“Everyone else is gone," she said, "and we only have each other. We haven’t seen each other in over 60 years, but we talk on the phone every Sunday now, and we’ve become friends. We don’t have anything left in this life but our memories, you know, and at least we can talk about those.”
I suppose there are a number of lessons here for those of us who are getting up there in years.
For instance, by all means stay in touch with as many of your old friends and relatives as possible, if you’d like to be able to spend at least a little time dwelling in a happy past.
More important, put some effort into making new friends, and new memories, as long as you’re physically and mentally able to do so.
But most important of all, get right with the God of the Bible. Then educate yourself on what He has promised about eternity. That way, you’ll be able to dispel every threat of loneliness with prompt reminders that, yes indeed, the best is yet to come.