What you can learn about the past from candied figs

Recently my mom told me a story about her childhood. Mind you that she grew up during WWII–food was scarce, Rome was getting bombed, water came through fountains and had to be carted up the stairs.  Life was tough. 

After such deprivation, at some point my mother fell in love with candied figs.  Her grandmother made those and kept them in a jar locked up and out of reach.  When the jar came down, those figs were sweet and special.  My mom loved them. 

Life moved on, my mom lost her mother to cancer, she grew up fast.  And then one day, she asked her grandma to make those candied figs from her childhood again. 

“They just were not the same,” she said to me recently.  “And so I learned that we cannot chase the past.  We can hold on to the good memories, but we cannot remake them, nor should we try to.”

So that is the wisdom that comes from a jar of candied figs.  Anytime we try to recreate the past, we are doomed to fail.  Do you remember anything magical from your childhood? We all have stories of something that struck us as special when we were little, and when we found it again as adults, it was not the same. 

So what are we to do with the past? There is wisdom in using the insights we gained to guide us to make us better decisions.  We should allow the memories to soothe us when possible, or we should disregard the ones that unsettle us.  But then we must concentrate on the moment we are currently living. 

The present moment, the one that finds you reading these few lines, is all that you have.  Enjoy it, savor it, make it your own.  Fashion yourself to be strong, gentle, caring.  Live in the moment, love, laugh, and when necessary let the tears flow.  Look at your emotions, let them come and let them go.  And then fill your heart with gratitude.  You are here, now.

Life is Amazing! Live well.

Anna Grassini


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