© Debbie Porter - 18th March, 2005
I love my happy memories
Of days from long ago,
When life was oh so simple
And I'd like to keep it so.
But 'though a visit back in time
Is rather nice to do,
We have to keep on moving on -
Right into God's brand new!
* * *
I'll admit it ... I didn't want to go.
There I've said it! It's out in the open.
I knew they were coming and even though I love them to pieces, I didn't want to see them.
"The Goodies" were coming to Sydney, close to 25 years since their last television show was recorded, and I, Debbie Porter, Goodies' fan from my teenage years, did not want to see them "Alive on Stage".
"The Goodies" (otherwise known as Tim Brook-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie) was a BBC television comedy series that ran from 1970 through to the very early 80's. It was popular enough in the United Kingdom to deserve such long-running success, but here in Australia, its popularity continued way beyond the series' finale.
As a teenager I remember stopping everything for my favorite half-hour each weekday afternoon. Then, as a young woman in the workforce, I would literally run home from the bus stop each day to make sure I didn't miss my three favorite TV friends.
For goodness sake, I even named our canary "Bill", after the shortest and hairiest member of the team.
Thanks to repeats, "The Goodies" stayed on our screens for many years after the series' demise, but then came the dark ages - a time where they disappeared completely.
After a very long absence the series re-appeared on Australian screens, thanks to cable television, and being the devoted mother that I am, I made sure that both Kylie and Matthew were indoctrinated ... I mean, er, introduced, to the antics of Graeme, Bill and Tim. The next generation of Goodies' fans was assured the baton had been passed and Kylie, in particular, picked it up and started running.
So it's not really surprising that she was just a little miffed when she recently discovered that I had known for months about "The Goodies" stage show, and hadn't said a word about it.
In fact, with all the tickets sold out by the time Kylie discovered that I'd been withholding information, she was cross enough to reach for an apple from the fruit bowl to throw at me although thankfully thought twice before actually hurling it.
"I cant believe you knew all this time, and DIDN'T TELL ME!" she wailed, while unclenching her fists long enough to reach for the apple again.
"I'm sorry hon," I apologized rather sheepishly. "It's just that I really don't want to go, so never thought to mention it."
Before the very disgruntled 19-year-old could go for the oranges, I thought it best to explain.
You see, my lack of desire to see the show was a little complex. In a very minor way, it did have something to do with the difficulty of getting into the City to the theatre. Driving into Sydney is never high on my list of fun things to do.
However, the main reason, without doubt, was quite simply "fear".
As ridiculous as it may seem, I was afraid that this show, 25 years down the track, would ruin the very fond memories I had tucked away from my youth. Memories that I didn't want to spoil in any way, shape or form.
Before you discount that fear as being just too silly for words, I have to say, in my defense, that the reason the fear was there at all was due to the fact that some other performers had already done exactly that. For example, a few years ago we went to a disastrous concert by a singer from a popular 1970's band, after which both Kylie and I found it hard to listen to any of the performer's old songs without shuddering.
With that in mind, there was no way that I wanted to see the same thing happen with my beloved Goodies. So I opted to stay away and avoid the risk of destroying the memories that I had. Kylie, being the good-natured girl that she is, quickly decided that she loved me even more than "The Goodies" and so stopped wanting to turn me into a walking fruit salad.
Peace and forgiveness reigned ... for a whole day, until the news came through that another Sydney show had been given the go-ahead, and the tickets would be on sale within the next week.
This time Kylie was determined. She was going, with or without me although she did her best to convince me that I should go too. Surprisingly, my husband, Steve, weighed in on Kylie's side, waving aside as unimportant any concerns I may have had about the cost of tickets.
So, four weeks later, there I was sitting in the magnificent Sydney State Theatre, waiting for the trio to make their appearance on stage. As the old songs blared through the speakers and hundreds of eager fans (of all ages) found their seats, I could feel the excitement building. Kylie's sheer delight was contagious, aided by the fact that we were sitting right in the very front row!
Moments before the show began, I reached for my daughter's hand and said with complete and utter honesty, "I am SO glad you talked me into coming! I'm SO glad I'm here!"
Then, almost immediately, the opening theme and credits for the old television show burst onto the screen at the back of the stage, and thus began nearly two full hours of jaw aching laughter.
It was all over way too soon, and I walked out of the theatre without any regrets in fact, quite the opposite. Tim, Bill and Graeme had not damaged a single thing. Instead, they had enhanced every memory and made that old, much-loved show so much nearer and dearer to my heart.
As we rode the monorail back to where our car was parked, I couldn't believe how close I'd come to missing out on such a wonderful evening. My fear of what could be, had almost robbed me of what turned out to be an extra special experience.
When it came to seeing "The Goodies" in the flesh, the long term damage of missing out would have been fairly minimal; not much more than a day or so of disappointment. However, when fear of the new or different stops us from moving forward into the very things that we were created to do, then the result can be a lifetime of disappointment and regret, together with an aching sense of being unfulfilled.
When it comes to living in the past, God shows us very clearly where our focus should be in these words He spoke through the prophet, Isaiah:
"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland."
~ Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV ~
Our pasts are full of experiences, memories and lessons to take with us into a future of possibility. From yesterday we take those cherished and precious memories that will be a blessing and encouragement to us on those days when tomorrow seems just too far away. Yet, to live so deeply in the past that we refuse to step into tomorrow, is not part of Gods will for our lives.
God's plan is for us to grow and go even when that takes us out of the very comfortable realm of the way things were, and launches us into the great unknown of the way things are yet to be.
Yesterday is a precious place to visit, but oh thank God for the challenge and promise of every brand new tomorrow!
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This isn't the first time "The Goodies have featured in my writing. For more, I hope you'll visit A Little Bit of Emotion Does You Good at FaithWriters.com