A Diamond Is (Not) Forever

There’s an old saying: You can’t take it with you, which is frightening in that it applies to literally everything in life. We can try to assure ourselves that relationships “will last forever” and certain objects or places “will always be as they are,” but everything in the world, and even the world itself, is passing.

We will not be in possession of even our bodies and our minds forever. As we get older, we may begin to lose our mental faculties and our memories, so after a while, it seems as though we are returning to the state in which we were when we entered the world: to some degree, a blank slate without any memories or rational thoughts. Some consider life to be a quest for permanence, and they search for completion and perfection that cannot be found because everything fades and rots. A person’s soul is eternal; however, if life on earth is spent invested in created things, the soul can be neglected.

So about a week ago, I found myself in front of the Eucharist, that tiny (yet so large) glimpse into eternity. I considered the objective bleakness of the fact that nothing lasts forever, and I contemplated my own reluctance to stop holding onto things that I know will disappear anyway. The prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola (“Suscipe”), in which he asks God to take his memory, his understanding, and his will, went through my head and led me to my own prayer that my hands might be released from painfully clenching around things and people in the world.

In time, life will loosen our grasp on everything. It is better to suffer the agony of relinquishing now, rather than to hold on until the bitter end, when we have become so attached that the pain of letting go destroys us and our souls.

4 thoughts on “A Diamond Is (Not) Forever

  1. I learned a lot about this from my mother.

    As I’ve mentioned before, she lived to 98 years old, and with most of her marbles. At certain points, she just let specific things go. For years, we’d get together at her apartment to eat dinner (takeout Chinese or Indian) and watch a movie on DVD.

    When she moved into a nursing home, watching movies would have been inconvenient, so we stopped. She’d seen a lot of movies in her life (pretty much the entire history of movies as a commercial medium was within her lifetime), but she decided that she didn’t need more.

    We still talked about movies — remembering the ones we’d seen, and the ones we’d seen with my father — but was was letting it go.

    As my father used to say, “Nothing lasts forever. You get the good of it and move on.”

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      1. Well, I’ve weeded out some of the more iffy statements they made over the years. 🙂

        One thing that was true, though, was that they didn’t speak in platitudes. Even the things that they thought which were wrong were things they’d thought through themselves, not just statements they’d heard which had sounded sort of okay.

        Age may have been a factor. They were much older than the parents of my school friends (around forty), so they’d had time to live in different places, meet different people, hear different ideas, and so on. Age doesn’t make you wise, but it can help you get there if you’re paying attention.

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        1. There is a lot to be said for having older parents… you kind of hate it when you’re a teenager and your parents are further away from relating to you, but you appreciate it when you’re older and actually start to accept their wisdom. 🙂

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