A few years ago, I learned the vital life lesson that just because something doesn’t last forever doesn’t mean it’s any less meaningful.
I used to be a scenic artist. The nature of my work meant that I painted and created something glorious that was destroyed within a few weeks. I grieved each time a show closed and I watched flats get repainted and disassembled – watched creations that took hundreds of hours be dismantled ingloriously and repurposed for new configurations. I cried at strikes, and my heart hurt.
A few years ago a friend moved away, and prepared his living space for one final installation before he began a journey that would take him to parts unknown of his past and future. I confusedly asked him how he could invest so much time, effort, and artistic integrity into a one-night show, and he told me: “Nothing lasts forever. Just because it is transient doesn’t mean it’s any less meaningful. I make art so that I can express what is in my soul at this moment, and hopefully connect with other people – to touch them now, and maybe live in them through the changes that makes.”
My wife told me a story tonight about something she remembered from years ago – someone who had touched her life when she was very young, who came back into her world and renewed a friendship that may affect her future. It made me think about the things that have changed me, and my fear that people will leave and things that I will lose, and my constant struggle to battle that fear and enjoy each moment that I have with them.
So many people come and go through our lives. We try to hang on to each of them, to keep them – to make them promise they will not leave us, that things will not change. But nothing is constant except change. Sometimes we grow and change with people, and sometimes we grow out of them and grow apart. Each one of them changes us as much as we let them — and if we choose wisely, they help us blossom into multi-dimensional, vibrant humans of the very best kind.
I have brilliant memories. I have memories of everyone I have loved, everyone I have connected with, everyone I have forged relationships with. I used to feel that I was tragically bad at commitment, but I realize that truly loving others means that I must give them the freedom to change, and grow, and move in and out of interaction with me and my life. And a life tinged with sadness and loss for impending change dishonors the value of this moment that we are living right now.
This thing, this moment. This is all we have. Nothing lasts forever. This moment is what matters. This connection we have with each other. This love that we experience. This joy in life and in each other. Without sadness, and without regret, and without need for a future or past. Each moment that we live is beautiful and sacred. Live the hell out of all of them.