Do you know what is better than charity and fasting and prayer?

It is keeping peace and good relations between people,

as quarrels and bad feelings destroy mankind.

- Prophet Mohammed


Day 9

After a great day at the park, the wife and I decided to watch The Breakfast Club last night. Before making the leap back to the US, I figured it was time to expose her to the fruits of American cinema. Sure, we'll be watching Streetcar Named Desire, Gone with the Wind and The Graduate as well, but the real pleasures of American film are found in the wonderful world of average, B-movies that defined each decade. So along with the greats, I'm forcing her to watch the core of the industry (as I define it). 

We'll be dipping into classics like Flight of the Navigator, Rocky IV, Mannequin, Heavy Weights, Goonies, Hook, Duel, Judge Dredd and People Under the Stairs. The list could go on forever. Towards the end of my college days, I really took to horrible movies. I bought so many VHS's that it's going to cost a pretty penny just to move them from their current home in Cincinnati to wherever it is my wife and I will land. There was one movie in particular that I really enjoyed called Snake Island. Watch the trailer if you must. It won't disappoint. 

The problem with watching these films with a non-American is that they don't really care. In my wife's case, language isn't an issue. I just think that she's not too interested in what happens to an eleven-year old boy when he falls into a ravine only to wake up in a lab next to Sarah Jessica Parker. I am interested, though. For years, whenever I opened a map, I did it in the same way that David did it in Flight of the Navigator. The same goes for unwrapping a chocolate bar. I mimicked Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. You know, slowly with piccolo music followed by an intense run to a shared bed full of several generations of old people.

I like these movies mostly for the nostalgic value they offer. But nostalgia can be dangerous. As you might have noticed, I like to trash city life. I don't like it one bit and can't wait for a slower, quieter life back in the US. However,  years ago I was thrilled with city life. I remember making comments about how I would never live outside the city again. Full-circle and several years later, I'm back to missing the peaceful solace of a calm riverbank and the innocent wind passing through the limbs of the American Oak.

I get nostalgic many times a day.  It's a guarded nostalgia, though. I don't focus on the past as it was, but I focus on how I will use the past to frame my future. There are two expressions that come to mind.
You don't know what you've got 'till it's gone.
The grass is always greener on the other side.
These are solid quotes and one that everyone should keep in mind. I often recall a conversation I had with Sid --my college roommate, original best-man nominee, CPA extraordinaire, and Eagle Eye Cherry duet partner-- a few months before my wedding. I wasn't having cold feet in the least, I just wanted to chat with him about the changes I was undergoing. I expressed my surprise that things about really sped up in life after college. He agreed and said something that I will always remember. It wasn't anything too deep or symbolic; just four simple words.
Growing up is hard.
 Those words sunk in and I often recall them when I'm start to get too nostalgic about the simplicity of yesteryear. It was just the advice that a best-man should give and even though he got tied up at work and couldn't jet across the pond for the ceremony, he cemented his role with his simple tip.

However, the point of discussing nostalgia isn't simply to jaw about crap films or compliment Sid for his assistance. If you recall, I had some issues with how Buddhism seemed to take a crap on the past. Christianity also takes a few jabs at it.
Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come. -2 Corinthians 5:17
If I were to become a true follower of Christ, I know that I wouldn't be asked to forget my past. That's not what the verse is actually saying. I know this, but I am guided by my past now just like most Christians are. My experiences have molded me and have led me to where I am today. I do not believe in fate or predestination. I am here because of my past and I can almost pinpoint the decisions which paved the path to my current situation. The lessons learned from my youth are still with me, just like the lessons I learned from my mother. 

What better way to follow the 4th Commandment then to keep the lessons we learned from our parents close?


  1. Be reminded that all of those horror films of yours are now in Tulsa. Your sister chose to purge her Cincinnati home of all those "fine" films and send them here for your future enjoyment..or Go's??
    I like your thoughts on our past and lessons learned. At well over 50 years old, I am still trying to learn from mistakes of the past.

  2. I had forgotten about that conversation. I still think about how hard growing up is all of the time though and I don't even feel that I am as grown up as many people my age (wife, kids, house in the burbs, etc.). I catch myself getting caught up in nostalgia all of the time and it is hard sometimes to think that things will never be like they were "back then". But I know there are many more great memories to come. I struggle almost everyday with not living in the past or future, but trying to make the most of the present.

    Also, I saw Snake Island on TV the other night and it was just as amazing as I remember.

  3. Also, speaking of Nostalgia, one of my friends just sent me this: