Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - March 20, 2009
Something gained, something lost
Springtime, successes, the revisiting of good situations, seeing old and good friends usually bring a sense of happiness - a sense of gladness and well being.
But occasionally those feelings are moderated with a touch of sadness. Husband Art's Mom has said that often when she hears a favorite song of years ago, it makes her want to cry. I know how she feels, and a recent week had several of those moments.
The first came when we headed down to Wichita for the Kansas Music Educators Association conference where daughter Katie was singing in one of the five choirs selected from across the state to perform. To be chosen was quite an honor. Director Janie Anthony shared how she had kept several programs from the past conferences, always hoping that one day she'd be there leading a group. The songs she selected for her young students were beautiful, yet several brought me to tears with their haunting melodies. On the way home, Art told Katie that he hoped she had taken the time to enjoy everything that had happened because no matter how good they are in the future, so many things have to come together again that the likelihood of a repeat is very small.
But it wasn't just hearing the choir that made the time special. It was also stopping at McPherson to have supper with my first husband Jerome's brother Dave and wife Jo. They are a couple who are so comfortable to be with and the laughs were frequent.
In Wichita, I spent several hours with college roommate Deb and high school classmates Joyce and Bruce. Good food and much catching up, mixed with laughing and reminiscing, made the time special.
Katie's high school job shadowing experience had another of those moments. She had made arrangements with K-State professor Michael Wesch to attend two of his classes. She enjoyed the whole day, but she seemed to particularly enjoy being in the classes and was apparently looking forward to when she'd be taking similar ones.
"I could absolutely do this," she said. "It's like high school, but a lot more fun."
That same week, I went to the funeral for the mother of a student of mine from more than 20 years ago. When I saw him, his eyes filled with tears. I assumed it was because of his mother, but he said when he saw me, it reminded him of when he saw me dressed in a black maternity dress - pregnant with oldest daughter Mariya - at Jerome's funeral 23 years ago. He said he thought that was the saddest thing he had ever seen.
Then, after the funeral, I called Mariya. She sounded excited. She had just been notified that she had been accepted to graduate school and had been awarded a teaching assistantship as well.
That evening, Art and I went to the high school, where the five Paraguayan students who had spent 10 days at Riley County shared information about their country and culture. For each student who had been chosen to come to the United States, 29 had to be told "no" and it was very obvious that the five felt very appreciative of their good fortune. And I couldn't help but reflect a bit on how I felt when I was chosen fresh out of college to spend two years in Ecuador as a Peace Corps volunteer.
In retrospect, I'm not quite certain why all of these things generated the feelings they have. For the most part, they were all good things. Yet there was a part of me that was so aware of the arc of life - a feeling of the present being connected in an obvious way to other things now long gone, a consciousness of time passing.