what was is certainly not now…

“. . .Looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

(the Hamilton-Phinizy-Segrest House, aka The Phi Mu House / Athens, Ga )

Perhaps a more appropriate title might read, 250 S. Milledge, Room 5 where are you?

So let's talk about living suddenly in a Twilight Zone…

A now surreal place where you thought you knew what was what..but now,
that what, is no longer what you thought.

It was a daily part of your own small world and it seemed bigger than life…
it was larger than anything you had known…because you had become it,
and it had become you and you both belonged together, becoming a quasi one.
Whatever that one might be.

But that was multiple lifetimes ago.

You were young and very foolish.

Fast forward 40 years along an odd spectrum of time,
and you suddenly find yourself no longer recognizing any of
the what that was.

There are a few glimpses here and there which are fleeting
all the while your brain races and rages in an attempt
to right the topsy turvy twist of time.

That building, that street, that park.

You are a compartmentalized thinking individual.
Mis en place, mis en place…as in… everything has its place.

Every place and every person has long been pegged for a certain
time and space…
and yet you never imagined that two time periods would, or could,
ever overlap.
Or maybe better yet, they have collided.

An odd continuum of time is simply circling back around.
But can a continuum actually bend?
Does it not simply travel straight?
Time does not, cannot split right?

Driving up and down roads whose names are familiar, you
find yourself looking for those familiar faces from
all those many years prior.

40 years ago, you lived in a pre-civil war home.
You lived in that house 120 years following its
original inception.
Yours was room 5.

Green and pink was a theme.
Your personal room's veranda was nothing but a window sill.
It looked out over a small patch of grass with a lone oak tree.

If you are really still, you might be able to hear music
whispering on the wind…

It was a time for both romanticism and foolishness…
contingent only upon one's age and experience.

And now when the two collide, both the what was and the what is,
it is a surreal mix of regret, expectation, remorse
and hope.

And isn't that what our lives are all about…
the what was, the now and the what will be?

If we are fortunate, blessed with longevity and health,
clear of mind and vision…
we may have the luxury of merging our what was
with our what will be.

But there is never any given guarantee.

If we have regrets, so be it.
The fact of the matter is that it is more important to have hope…

Regret lives in the what was.
Like rustling lifeless fallen dried leaves
blowing helplessly in the wind.

Wonder lives in the now.
A freshly opened flower…yet its beauty is shortly lived.

Hope, on the other hand, lives for the what will be.
An endless sea of possibilities.
No matter the time or age.

Glance back if you must, but don't stare too long…
the what will be might just run off without you.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect,
but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own.
But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward
to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God
in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12-14

16 comments on “what was is certainly not now…

  1. atimetoshare.me says:

    Your words are like magic to my ears this morning. Looking back and looking ahead are a part of our thought process. When those plans and dreams are disrupted over time or rearrange by someone else, we balk and sometimes cower under them. Thank you for your artistic playing with words and for giving me a lot to think about.

  2. Tricia says:

    Beautiful Julie.

  3. “Looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them” The other half is anxiety.

  4. Citizen Tom says:

    I spent my life walking away from the past. Family is the only part I have held close. Grew up as a military brat, and that is how I adapted. Not healthy, I suppose, but it is what I did. So, I read your post a bit baffled. The familiar faces from the past are so few.

    Yet I sort of understood. My parents, my brothers, and my children have formed attachments that lasted.!

    • I once worked with a great colleague and football coach- sadly his winning ways and life were each cut short before he even turned 50 due to a sudden illness— As you Tom, Ben spent much of his life like a nomad — he actually graduated from West Point before his Vietnam servitude and later became a coach— another nomad profession.
      He called everyone coach— it mattered not if you coached or not.
      One day in the mail room, where at the time the faculty phone resided, Ben stopped me before I grabbed my mail and headed back to my classroom— I don’t recall what brought up this particular conversation but I think I must have mentioned I’d never been back to my alma matter, despite still being a huge follower of its football program. I can remember vividly something that Ben said and it has stuck…”coach, you’re just like me. When I left West Point, the last time I saw it was from my rear view mirror. You and Georgia are the same…you’ve just kept moving forward…”
      So whereas Ben is apart of those past familiar faces, I do go forward— I recall many with warmth and even pining— but as I do tend to compartmentalize, I don’t tend to go back from whence I’ve been— be that good or bad— who’s to say…

      • Citizen Tom says:


        There is a difference between loving and needing people. We often confused needing people with loving them. Indifference, however, would be as bigger problem. I have to remind myself that just because someone is out of sight does not mean they should be out of mind. I guess that is one reason we should pray for others.

      • Agreed Tom— as I say there are times, especially after an out of the blue vivid dream, that I can sorely miss those both dead and living who are now removed for whatever reason— a warm nostalgia 🥰

  5. Nancy Ruegg says:

    Too often when the distant past collides with the present the outcome is less than pleasant. Regrets surface all too easily. Why DO we chide ourselves for not being perfect back then when we’re not perfected yet and never will be till Jesus takes us home. You are right, Julie. We must adopt Paul’s attitude of forgetting what lies behind and pressing forward to what lies ahead. With you I don’t want future opportunities to run off without me because I’m looking back! (Great post, Julie.)

  6. Good stuff, Julie! Very profound and beautiful. Well done!

    I’ve been thinking about how you ”’cant go home again,” either the name of a novel or the lyrics of a Moody Blues song, but regardless it really is true. The world around us changes, but we change, too.

    • Thank you IB, I’ve written about good ol Thomas Wolfe before–about how I just can’t go back home again…no matter how hard I’ve tried…and each time it’s really a blessing we can’t go back 😉

  7. oneta hayes says:

    Looking back there is no hope for it to have been better; looking forward is filled with hope for those who know the Guide Lots of special “highlights” in your words here.

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