In the old days, our cameras were fitted with film and part of the excitement following the trip was sending the film away and waiting for the prints to arrive. Of course, we had no way of knowing which, if any, of the pictures would turn out. But when the package did arrive, we delighted in sharing our memories with anyone who would look.
So, this week, I sat down at my computer with three files open, one from Jim’s camera, one from Victoria’s and mine. I wanted to journal our bike trip day by day so I was searching for just the right pictures that might capture not only the beautiful scenery we cycled past but also the feelings we had while we were together.
Once I had finally assembled my chosen pictures to correspond with the appropriate days, and with any luck had placed them in the right sequence, I was ready to do my final editing. As I cropped and placed the final photos in place, I remembered that for photo albums I’ve created in the past, I’ve put a miniature picture, and sometimes a quote, on the very back cover. This time I knew what mini-picture I wanted and niggling in my mind was the wisp of a phrase I had seen and loved in the Edinburgh airport that I thought might be a perfect ending to the book; if only I could think of it.
A google search turned up nothing. I knew I would know the phrase as soon as I saw it. It had been written above the door to the departure lounge and when I had read it, it brought tears to my eyes and filled my heart. But for the life of me, I could not remember. Luckily, I do know that often when I’m trying too hard to recall something, I have little luck, but when I allow my mind relax and carry on with my day, crucial bits of information will fall into it at unsuspecting times.
You can imagine my complete lack of surprise when I was blow drying my hair and suddenly thought, ‘Haste Ye Back’.
Haste Ye Back. To me, this brings to mind images not only of good friends bidding each other goodbye, wishing their time together could have been longer, but it also stirred up thoughts of events and moments and even things from our lives that go by so quickly we wish we could hang on to them a bit longer or that we could bring the essence of them back into our present day lives.
I think of the many years we would visit my parents on their farm in Ontario after Jim and I moved to Alberta. In those days we returned home once each year, first with no children and then with Kaitlyn and then Gregory, staying about two weeks and splitting our time between our two families. Each year, when it came time to say goodbye to my Dad, he always fought tears and once we were in our car, he hastened to the barn to chop some wood, each blow of the ax lessening the blow of our leaving. Had he been a Scotsman, I might picture him whispering ‘Haste Ye Back’.
With December now upon us and Christmas only a few weeks away, I recognize this time of year as one when I wish I could hasten back to moments and feelings in my life when things felt ‘just right’. The hands of time go faster and faster each year and sometimes I wish I could talk to past Christmas seasons saying, ‘Haste Ye Back’.
When we moved from our acreage a few years ago, Christmas just did not feel like Christmas in the new house. This year I finally realized one of the pieces I was missing. On the acreage, Jim and I would spend one entire day each November, before the temperature got too low, decorating about fifteen spruce trees on our front and back lawn. When we drove down our driveway, they welcomed us. Whether we were sitting in our living room or doing dishes in the kitchen, we could enjoy them through our windows. When I would coil them up and pack them in boxes after the season, it was if I would whisper to them, ‘Haste Ye Back’.
In the new house, there was simply no way to replicate this. In fact, the first year in the new house we gave away our many strings of lights, realizing we had no place for them.
For the last two years Jim has hinted that he’d love it if we would put lights on the lone evergreen tree on our front lawn. I’ve resisted; the tree is over thirty feet high and whereas we always did our own light display on the acreage, we would never be able to do this one ‘right’ ourselves. Finally, this year I came to the realization that one of the things I was missing was those lights. While we could never recreate what we had once had, we could create something new; something that would take our hearts back to a place of fond memories, and give us permission to make new ones. Jim made the phone call and drove over to Canadian Tire to buy the new lights and this weekend we are loving our beautifully lit tree.
Such a small thing to bring back such a big feeling.
This busy December, I invite each of you to look back into the box of Christmas memories you hold in your mind and whisper ‘Haste Ye Back’ to the traditions, customs and friendships that you still might have room for in this year’s festivities. When Victoria opens her gift of the photo album on Christmas, I hope she is hastened back to our most wonderful time together this past Fall.
My inquiry for you this week is, ‘Who or what is waiting to hear me whisper, ‘Haste Ye Back’?’
Elizabeth creates and facilitates custom workshops for corporate, public and private groups. She provides leadership and personal coaching for individuals and teams. Contact Elizabeth to help hasten you back to the values that serve you best in life and business.