The funny thing is, we never sang that at church last night. It’s practically a traditional song to sing at year’s end, in fact it doesn’t really make sense to sing it any other time. But nothing. Maybe we’ll do it on Sunday?
December actually annoys me right now. Too many holidays packed in close together. Not that that’s bad, but between the three Christmas celebrations, some obligatory get-together’s with friends, and the nearly immediate preparations for New Years, I hardly had time to play any video games.
Yeah, I know. I’m sure you’re all just bleeding your hearts out for me.
Ministers probably have it a lot rougher, with not only the usual two sermons to prepare for the week, but also the Christmas and New Year’s sermons. Poor guys. Have to work harder over the holidays than anyone. Except perhaps for mailmen, airline pilots, snowplow drivers, doctors, and newspaper boys. When you think about it, there are LOTS of poor folks who don’t really get holidays off to spend with their families. I’m sure they’re compensated, but still… yeesh.
Anyway. None of this has anything to with New Years, which is what I started writing about. One of the really fun things we did this week was look at some of the old home videos we have lying around the house. They’re all on VHS, of course, and were nearly all taken with an archaic shoulder-mounted VCR that made any kid operating it feel like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Y’know, the tiny cameras they have today are awfully convenient and portable and stuff, but sometimes I really miss the days of taking an enormous bazooka-like recorder out of a suitcase and snapping the viewfinder over your eyes. Maybe I can just stick one of the new digital cameras in one of those…
Ahem. My tendency to imagine household implements as weapons of destruction aside, old home videos are really cool. They show not only all the stuff you can remember, but also stuff you can’t, like the lives of older siblings and even parents before you came along. It gives you a real sense of your history and your family as a whole, and make for great memory-inducers.(They’re also wonderfully embarrassing to everyone whose former-self is onscreen.)
More than that, though, home videos give you a real sense of the passage of time. Seeing yourself as a baby is cute and horribly awkward and everything, but seeing your grandparents with not-gray hair and your parents as people barely out of their twenties is an incredible shock. A reminder, in a way, that one day you will be like your parents (already are, in some ways), and your parents will be like your grandparents. And in all likelihood, that you will have kids as horrible as yourselves.
It’s very bizarre. On the one hand, you see how much things have changed–the great googly eyeglasses, the horrendous color schemes, the tiny televisions, even the memory of aforementioned bazooka-like camera–but on the other hand you also see how much has remained the same. And as I said before, how much will conceivably happen again. You both are and are not the little hyper snot-nosed kid doing somersaults on the screen.
Neil Gaiman, the great comic book writer (yes, I’m lame enough to have a comic-book writer as a hero), has a phrase in one of his books: “Everything changes, but nothing is lost” It’s incorrect, of course, because God does not change, and in a way neither do people; but it’s still an interesting commentary on the nature of time. From year to year, time changes things, but the events of former years cannot be forgotten, because of their repercussions in the present. And, presumably, in the future. You never really lose who you were as a kid.
Another year is dawning, but the year behind us is never really going to go away.