Tony Webster receives a letter informing him that he has been left a diary by the mother of a former girlfriend. The diary actually belonged to Adrian, an old school friend of his and this sets his mind racing back to the past. To a time when he fell in love with Veronica whilst at college. However, getting hold of this legacy proves difficult, and in the end he tracks down Veronica and arranges a meeting with her.
As they meet over coffee Veronica remains distant and aloof, clearly affected by the past and not wanting to open up old wounds. But for Tony this is a big mystery, he does not known why he was left Adrian’s diary, why Veronica’s mother was in possession of it, and why indeed Veronica would burn it. Little by little we learn of the past, the ups and downs of it, and the romantic relationships that linked, first Tony and Veronica, then Adrian and Veronica. This is not an easy meeting for either of them.
Sometimes the past won’t let go of us. We relive past glories, lament and appreciate various bits, wonder where the years went, and wish at times we could go back and either rewrite the story or live it all again. A lot of water travels under life’s bridges, and sometimes there is a lot of litter in the water. In the book of Ecclesiastes King Solomon revisits bits of his past and does a lot of wondering and lamenting. He has experienced so much, and been very privileged, but it doesn’t not stop him from searching for meaning, and lamenting the troubles of life. He concludes that work, relationships, wealth, food, possessions and sex alone cannot satisfy, that all these things leave a gap. A divine gap. A hunger for something more. The actor Jim Carrey once said, ‘Everyone should be rich and famous and have everything they ever want, so they find out it’s not the answer.’
In Chapter 10 of Ecclesiastes Solomon reflects: ‘Light is sweet; it’s wonderful to see the sun! When people live to be very old, let them rejoice in every day of life. But let them also remember that the dark days will be many. Everything still to come is meaningless. Young man, it’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do. So banish grief and pain, but remember that youth, with a whole life before it, still faces the threat of meaninglessness.’ (Almost has a ring of Victor Meldrew about that last bit!) So! Youth and age both have their wonders and their woes. Jesus spoke of life, a full, extraordinary life that could be found in following him. Not an easy life, not a trouble free existence, but one that would leads us to his Father, the creator of all things, and ultimately the one who could give us purpose, meaning, hope and satisfaction. ‘Our hearts are restless,’ said St Augustine, ‘until we find our rest in God.’ ‘I have come that you might have life, life in all its fullness,’ said Jesus in John chapter 10 verse 10. He also offers us a place where we can take our past hurts and regrets. ‘Come to me all you who are worn out and weighed down by burdens, and I will give you rest. Let me guide you and lead you for I am humble and gentle and you will find rest for your souls.’ Matthew 11 vv 28-30.