Not for the first time, the BBC television drama series Our Friends in the North came to mind. Hailed as one of the greatest BBC productions of the 1990s, it concludes in a moment both simple and profound.
Do you remember the bit?
The four friends from thirty years previously have gathered in Nicky’s house after his mother’s funeral. Mary agrees to meet Nicky for lunch the next day. you get the feeling that yet another opportunity is going to be lost, that it will be another of lost moment. There is a desire to shout at the television, “No Nicky, this time do something”. Mary drives off and Nicky suddenly realizes that this time he must not et his chance go by. He runs maniacally through the estate, cutting across grass areas, and manages to stop the car. Gasping for breath he asks, “Why not today?”
The question seems to be about redeeming the previous thirty years, making up for the lost moments and opportunities.
Standing at my parents’ Golden Wedding celebration yesterday, there was a moment of answering Nicky’s question, “why not today?”
People I had not seen in more than a generation gathered for lunch. Some I did not know, some I did not recognize, some suddenly came alive in memories of childhood days, what mattered though was not the past, but the present.
Maybe there were opportunities to have done things differently in the past, maybe there could have been more contact, maybe I should even have responded to the Christmas cards that some people sent me faithfully every year; but it didn’t matter. There is nothing that can be done to change the past; neither by regret nor wishful thinking can a single second be rewritten, the only moment that can be changed is now.
“Why not today?” asks Nicky.
Live life now.
It was good for a moment to be able to answer him.