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  • Writer's pictureDoug Weiss

The Missing Post

As I was thinking about this week’s topic, I thought I would look back on the past for some inspiration. As I did so I noticed for the first time that the files in which I keep the drafts of my work showed 318 posts, while the blog site showed one more, the missing post. I am not sure where or when this discrepancy might have occurred, and in the grand scheme of things perhaps it isn’t very important, but it got me thinking about what else in life I might be missing.

Opportunities to be sure—missed either by inattention, fear of failure perhaps, timing or unpreparedness. Most of us have a few hidden in the cupboards. Former acquaintances and friends—again easy to misplace these once important relationships if you aren’t paying close attention. The tidal drift of life and sometimes distance pulls us away and it takes a certain attention to those we care for to avoid the gulf that insinuates itself over time. I am always delighted to renew those bonds but a Christmas card each year or an occasional email do not make for lasting bonds. Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a season for everything, and a time for every purpose—I’d like to think that maybe our seasons have simply become misaligned. As one song put it, Winter just wasn’t my season. I know that is an excuse, though, a way of letting myself off easy.

Other things that have gone missing tell a story about aging. Boundless energy, impulsive enthusiasm, carefree expenditures of physical resources; these have gone the way of all flesh too—diminished—perhaps not entirely lost but certainly not in abundance any longer. In their stead I have gained a few things, a little more patience and sensitivity, but the bones are the telltale of spent energies, and the price of carelessness. I know those things are there if I could just summon them, but I’ve lost track of where they went.

A few things that have gone walkabout I do not miss. The arrogance of youth, groundless faith in my infallibility never served me well and I am happy to be rid of them. I did not send them packing, experience did that for me. Someone once told me that life is a poor teacher because it administers the test and then provides the lesson—that has certainly been the case in my own life.

There are people I miss. Those I loved, respected, learned from, and a few I wrestled with in good spirit and with a shared sense of investment in a worthy cause. They are gone except in memory, not exactly lost but not at hand to cherish, to speak with and tell how very dear they were to me.

In our comings and goings we forget that we are always becoming—not finished still malleable and able to alter our future course until we breathe our last. It is for that reason it is so very important not to lose what is precious to us. We can only set our course for tomorrow by knowing where we have been. When we lose an essential piece of that past we lose a little bit of ourselves.

Against this backdrop a missing post is a trivial thing. There is nothing sacred about the words—they are just fleeting thoughts of a day and no one but me may have even read them. One day, if I have exhausted every other conceivable use of my time I might just track down that post, resurrect it and set it in its rightful place. Until then I am just going to use it as a talisman to remind me that I need to hold on to every last person and experience I can gather to me. Ralph Waldo Emerson, gets the next to the last word here, reminding us that “for everything missed, something is gained, and for everything gained, something else is lost.” Maybe I’ll just leave well enough alone; adieu missing post, adieu good friends, farewell old loves and dear ones, I miss you all but you are not lost.

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