The One That Got Away

The above quote from Dame Liz Taylor reads, “So much to do, so little time, such things to be.” I couldn’t help but think–as I viewed her numerous possessions up for bid at Christie’s on Saturday–how much she left behind. She made many charitable efforts, which continue to go on as proceeds from the auction benefit her AIDS Foundation. She left many screen performances on film to be enjoyed for years to come. She also left a lifetime of jewels, dresses, purses, artwork, furniture, and mementos which were on display for all to view at the auction house. Most of us won’t be deemed important enough to have our closet recreated in Christie’s at Rockefeller Center in NYC, but we’ll all leave things behind. After all, we can’t take them with us; even what gets buried with us in the casket stays here on earth, to eventually be consumed by the dirt.

It’s noteworthy, then, to think of what stuff *can* be taken with us. The older I get, the more I realize what travels along my journey with me: experiences–both good and bad; relationships–both good and bad; emotions/feelings–both good and bad. All these things become part of my spirit, and therefore can’t be auctioned off. However, not all those things *have* to be taken along the whole journey–we can purge people out of our lives who are toxic, just as we can steer away from toxic scenarios and bad feelings when we encounter them.

I’ve been listening to Katy Perry’s new single “The One That Got Away” on repeat lately, and–though it’s very gimmicky–some of the lyrics ring true. Such as these:

All this money can’t buy me a time machine
It can’t replace you with a million rings
I shoulda told you what you meant to me
‘Cause now I paid the price

I thought about Liz Taylor and Richard Burton a bit when I stopped and listened to the above bridge. They couldn’t live without each other, but they also couldn’t live with each other. Liz claimed several times during her later life that Dick was the one that got away, though she knew she couldn’t save him from his addictions. The guest preacher at the National Cathedral on Sunday preached about the dangers of indulging nostalgia too much: If one is too focused on relishing the sugar-coated past, the present slips by and is not truly experienced. This was something I needed to hear, especially at this time of year.

I’ve chosen to focus less on worrisome gift-giving and more on experiencing the true act of giving this Christmas by donating to the Red Cross rather than running around buying gifts for those like myself who have plenty. Like Liz, none of us can take our worldly stuff with us.

Happy December!


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