Today I have been thinking a lot about anniversaries. First it was in disdain and annoyance, because my current home church is celebrating its 25th anniversary this weekend. Second it was in melancholic remembrance, because I realized a few hours ago that today marks the one month anniversary of my friend’s passing. These completely contradictory responses to anniversaries has me wondering how one common event could elicit so many conflicting emotions, and how have we allowed such a thing as anniversaries to take such hold of our emotions?
I will start first with the annoyed feelings I get when thinking of anniversaries and move on from there.
To explain my feelings in a clearer manner about my church: since the beginning of the year, each Sunday a lady has come to the front of church and read a “historical moment” about the church, leading up to the eventual celebration of the church anniversary tomorrow. The actual anniversary celebration is this whole weekend: yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The church is pretty much obsessing over the anniversary, and I am left wondering what exactly the happiness is about. For the past 25 weeks, God has rarely been mentioned in relation to this anniversary celebration. It’s just all about partying, being happy the church has been around 25 years, etc.
It is because of this that I feel annoyance in relation to anniversaries. It seems that sometimes people get so caught up in the celebration of anniversaries that they forget the original purpose for why they are celebrating at all. Celebrating the anniversary of a happy and good date is not a bad thing, but sometimes people lose sight of what is important. With the example of my church, it seems they have become so caught up in celebrating, that they are forgetting to focus on the important thing: God has blessed the church spiritually and financially to survive for 25 years to spread his gospel to this world.
Happy anniversaries should be something special, focused solely on the event being commemorated, and should not be cheapened by over-indulgence in the moment.
Happy anniversaries should also not be cheapened by bad attitudes because someone may have possibly forgotten the anniversary. We are all humans, and prone to forget things. If an anniversary is important to you, and you wish someone to remember it, make sure to remind them. Just because a person forgets does not mean that the original event that is being commemorated was unimportant to them. They just have a plethora of things to remember. Specific dates from the calendar may get misfiled in their memory-laden brain.
On the other side of things, we find anniversaries for less-than-joyful events. In my case, it would be the passing of a friend. For others it may be the anniversary of a divorce, or the anniversary of being fired, etc. I don’t know. Whatever it is, these anniversaries seem to always effect our emotions adversely. It seems irrational that such anniversaries can completely ruin a good mood. Until I realized it had been a month since my friend has passed, I was having a good day (boring, but good). Now it’s like happy-sad-okay-sad-happy-crap!-meh-okay just because I remembered my friend died a month ago?
It seems like anniversaries for bad things should not be remembered at all, but the dates are not something you can forget. Why should a day bring you down? Why should I let this day make me melancholy? Today is a good day, because I am alive and healthy. Should I not rejoice over that instead of mourn over the loss of a friend?
It is weird how anniversaries can control our emotions so completely. What is it about anniversaries that can cause our moods to shift from bad to good, good to bad? It's just another day in the year, and while it is nice to mark momentous events, should we really allow anniversaries to take control of our emotions the way that we do?