L’histoire se dit à travers une continuité.
lee-stwaar suh dee ah trah-vay rewn kaw-tee-new-ee-TAY. Click below to hear this.
History keeps going.
This post is my birthday gift to my Mother, who is celebrating her 97th birthday today. I imagine not everyone who reaches such an age welcomes it, but I dare to think she is happy today, and grateful to have lived this long. She made me promise to be present at her 100th birthday celebration!
I suspect one of the reasons we tend to be nostalgic, teary-eyed, or depressed during the holidays is that we want each celebration to be like a precious jewel, shimmering, perfectly cut, deeply colored, and reflecting the gathered celebrations of our past.
But life is not a jewel. It is more like a road, reeled out from past to present and into the future. It is a continuity, and we can only see that section of road that lies through our now. We see a little way behind us, and we peer into the future, but there is fog on the road and we cannot see ahead.
Hence today’s expression: L’histoire se dit à travers une continuité. Literally, History is told across a continuity. What that really means is that we as individuals are neither the beginning nor the end, though our lives may feel self-contained and endings may seem like tragedies. On the contrary: we are the road. Everything we say, think, feel, do, has a context; we are who we were, and who we will be. There are imperfections, regrets, wistfulness, but also joy and gratitude. This sense of continuité gives me a great sense of peace.
I am, deeply, my Mother’s daughter, and I am grateful for that. My voyage leads through my Mother’s life. No doubt we have changed each other–how can a child not change his or her parents? My birthday wish for my Mother is that she may live in that sense of continuity, knowing how profoundly she has helped to shape every person whose life she touches–how the blessings she passes on will live in others long after her road is lost in the fog ahead.
Alternate audio file link: une-continuite