Continuity

Posted: March 18, 2014 in Family, Musings, Personal
Tags: , , , ,

We have a friend who knows a lot about electricity and it’s become a joke that everything is about “continuity.”  But although we live in a society often enamored of the “new”, “different” or “edgy”, continuity is a very important part of life.  Without it, we’re merely adrift, having to create everything new without the faintest clue how to do so.

Continuity is part of my daily life when I brew tea in a pot given to me by my great-aunt, from a set of English china dishes that she gifted me.  I warm my hands around the pot that she warmed her hands around for many years and cherished as I cherish it now.  I loved the dishes originally because the salad plates are square and I still get joy from using them.  The dishes aren’t used as much; the teapot, daily.

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Continuity is going to the mountains of Wyoming every summer with our girls to a place I’ve been going since my parents bought it when I was in college.  Most of the same families are there who were part of the original group of buyers but we’re now into the third generation, fourth in some cases.  We drive, seeing the same landscape, staying at the same motel off the beaten path, eating at some of the same places and seeing sights that have been there for many years; some, like the Badlands, almost since time began.  We tell stories of things that our girls did when they were little and places my dad and I rode before I even knew my husband.  We remember when we were in a cabin heated only by a wood-burning stove and one of us got up in the cold each morning to start the fire and how our older daughter sometimes stoked it so high that by the time the sun hit the roof in the morning, we had to open the doors and windows to let the heat out and how our younger daughter reined Rebel around in the corral when she was so little her feet stuck straight out to the side when she got on the saddle.

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Continuity is reading books to our girls that my mom read to me when I was little and keeping the books for when they have children.  It’s reading books that have been read for longer than any of us have been alive and for longer than our country has been around.  It’s seeing pictures of relatives who were in the Civil War or relatives who came from other countries and going through old photo of “when you were little.”  It’s reading books so many times you don’t remember how often you’ve read them and even though you know the books almost by memory,  wanting to read them one more time.  It’s reading about people who lived in history, finding out their stories and learning from them, realizing how we’ve been influenced by them, seeing how the threads have woven together to get us where we are now.

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Continuity is having traditions such as camping out in the living room on New Year’s Eve under the lights of the Christmas tree and having many of the appetizers as dinner.  It’s being able to quote from movies because you’ve see them so many times and laughing at the same things each time.

Continuity for us was, for almost 28 years, living in the same house, the place from which we could leave but always return with a feeling of home-coming.  It was being so familiar with the house that I could walk through it in the dark, yet feel as though I could see.  It was, for many years, having one set of grandparent within easy driving distance and visiting them, hearing their stories, building traditions.

Continuity is being married for 30 years this fall.  Continuity for us is believing in a God that’s been there forever and will be there forever, loving us constantly.  Continuity is family and friends.  With continuity, we can try new things, add new traditions, let children grow up and move away and know that’s what we raised them to do, look forward to the next phase of our lives.  Continuity is knowing we don’t have to re-invent the wheel but if we want to try, we have something upon which to build.

Taking our vows

Taking our vows

Continuity is seeing the snow melt, the air warm, the earth begin to part as stalwart leaves start their spring push.  It’s enjoying the beauty of each season if for no other reason than each season helps us appreciate and anticipate the next season. Continuity is life going on through the cycles of life and death and hibernation…over and over and over.  Continuity is life.

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Comments
  1. M. R. says:

    Yes to all of this (well, for me, almost all), Janet. I fancy your birthday last weekend has stirred some of it up; and it’s good to have a place to be able to give voice to it. It means so much to you, after all … For you I wish only that it wraps you for the rest of your days.

    • I don’t know that my birthday had much to do with this as I’ve had the start of it in my ideas file for some time, but it was appropriate. Using the teapot yesterday made me think of my great aunt and my thoughts went on from there. Now my thoughts have to go to tax prep…sigh.

      janet

  2. So loved this post, Janet. Connectedness and Continuity is a big theme in my life as well. Your teapot sounds wonderful, and so does the ritual of making the tea, drinking from and holding that cup each day!

    • The tea making and drinking is a daily blessing, Madison. Although I have other teapots (and a plethora of cup), I love using the teapot from Aunt Irene, even though I don’t always think about the connectedness at an overt level. Thanks for taking time from what I know is a busy day to stop in. I hope you’re finally getting a bit of spring today (other than people being sick!) It’s going to be warm most of the week and I’m quite ready for it!

      janet

  3. Angeline M says:

    Continuity is so important, not only for us, but as you say, for our children. Creating new things is great and keeps us alive and fresh…but to have no history and connection with the past would be sad, and make us poor souls indeed.
    A wonderful post, Janet.

    • You’re so right, Angeline, we need new things to keep growing. But we need the connections to be our roots from which the growth occurs. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and stopping by!

      janet

  4. Bumba says:

    What a beautiful article! You so clearly explained what continuity is and I exemplified it.

    • Thanks so much, Bumba, for the comment and for reading. Continuity is good, I think, unless the person never tries anything new and different. But it grounds us and everyone needs that.

      janet

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