Nostalgia is a strange thing: it makes us fond of some stupid, awkward, and ugly things.
Tonight, for instance, I was listening to some cheesy country songs from the 90s and early 00s. By many objective standards I should dislike this stuff (the over-production, 80s hangover mullets, and twangy rock/pop sound, etc) but for better or worse I’ve come to feel love for it.
This was the stuff I was hearing on my way to school, on hunting trips with my Dad, coming out of the speakers in my Mom’s car (Wide Open Spaces by the Dixie Chicks – which for the record is an objectively a decent-to-good country album). And now the music reminds me of those times and of the positive values I gained from the people who played it.
Anyway, this music was a part of my life’s story. And that has helped to make it seem lovable.
We usually look for things to beautify our lives: like the music we listen to, the people we spend time around, etc. And there’s some value in that way of seeing. But there’s something powerful about your life experience that beautifies the things it touches.
You’d never guess it, either. But nostalgia offers a definite hint at the power and significance of *having lived through something*. Our lives – insofar as they are stories of meaning – can beautify and dignify the least lovely things and people.
Intellectual Credit: It occurred to me this morning (wrote this last night) that while the nostalgia/story point is new, the idea about making things lovable was directly inspired from a recent Rob Bell podcast: Love and Muchness. Check it out!