For most of Lost’s quantum leaping fifth season, the show has meditated on the idea of changing the past for the sake of a better future. And for the past several episodes, we’ve gotten stories that have dealt with the notion that personal and collective histories can be boiled down to defining moments — Sayid shooting Ben; Kate and Sawyer bringing Ben to the Others; Ben defying Charles Widmore and swiping Baby Alex. These stories have invited both the characters and the audience to wonder: What might happen if those defining moments were tweaked, altered, or removed altogether? –Doc Jensen about Lost episode “Some Like It Hoth”
Prompted by the mysteries of Lost and reconnecting via Facebook with most everyone I’ve ever known, I’ve been in a reminiscing mood. It’s pretty easy for me to do. I relate places to people and music to moments.
The taste of circus peanuts take me back to my best friend’s house. Even though we counted more than once, I can’t remember how many steps it was from her house to mine. But I’ll never forget how close we were as next-door neighbors and continue to be as life-long friends.
I remember watching “G.I. Jane” the night before I left for college and while I don’t remember the movie very well, I can still feel my conflicting emotions about beginning my new phase of life. And when I hear “Lie on Our Graves” by Dave Matthews, I’m immediately taken back to the summer I was 19 years old and two of my friends sat on the couch in my parents’ living room singing/playing an impromptu rendition that I still like replaying in my mind. Indigo Girls and Dave Matthews were the soundtrack to my college years, and I can still hear Greg telling me how much he wished we could listen to something else.
Steak-n-Shake is the scene of two sets of memories involving two groups of friends. The hot-potato game Catchphrase will always take me back to ringing in 2003 with friends in Lexington, even though I’ve played many times since then. My interview at the Ledger & Times in 2003 is clear, both my outfit and my mixed thoughts about whether I’d take the job if it was offered. Turns out it was offered, and despite my hesitations, I loved doing that job.
Thankfully, scared isn’t an emotion I’ve experienced often, but I remember calling my mom and my husband to tell them the doctor diagnosed me with Type 1 Diabetes and was admitting me to the hospital. They both reassured me and made plans to come take care of me. And I remember that after three days of learning about insulin, needles, carbohydrates and blood sugar levels, going to a Murray State basketball game when I was allowed to leave the hospital was a good plan because I could stopping worrying for a couple hours and cheer. I don’t remember who the Racers played, but I remember the escape not working, as I made a grocery list in my mind and worried about the days to come. Now, injecting insulin every time I eat is second nature.
It was December 2004 when I stopped taking birth control pills. But it’s the doctor’s appointments, blood work and conversations of infertility that remain fresh in my mind. I remember my most emotional breakdown at my dear friend’s baby shower; I felt safe even though I crumbled emotionally in many, many pieces. And, thankfully, I remember our decision to adopt and car ride home from our reproductive endocrinologist in Nashville, where we left our treatments and trusted God on the next segment of the journey to Cate.
I was never as alert when woken from sleep as I was when Cate’s birth mom called at 5:45 a.m. (central time) to tell us that her water broke. I’ve never gotten dressed and out of the house faster and more prepared than I did that Sunday morning. Although it was surreal, I relive those hours in the hospital often, especially the ones that included a dark-haired baby in my arms.
And I’m certain “Finding Nemo” will forever take me back to today, when I have a toddler who has befriended the fictional fish, among other animals.
Looking back, I’m sure I would have handled some of those defining moments differently. In some cases, I would have said more; in others, less words probably would have been wiser. I’m sure I would have complained less and rejoiced more. Regardless, I’m sitting here as the person I am because of those moments, and, more importantly, the people in them.
While I’ve never traveled to a time before I was born and seen how events played out to eventually influence my life, and certainly have never been stranded on an mysterious island with strangers who became friends and enemies, depending on the day. But, still, somehow I can relate to the recent theme of Lost: What happened then influenced today, and today will influence tomorrow. The thought of changing a detail or two is tempting, but, really, if life didn’t happen like it did, I may not be me.