Where Do I Put Your Memory?

Reminiscences are more valuable to me today than ever.  Perhaps, it’s because I’ve more time behind me than before, but I’m thinking more about the past, anyway.  Occasionally, I make concerted efforts to remember lost events.  Generally, these are fruitless musings, and I wonder if the ghosts I do raise are actual events or fanciful surmisings.  It may be that I’m trying to make some sense of my life- sorting through events and piecing the puzzle.  It actually amazes me that I find myself in this place because I’ve always been a person fairly confident of purpose.  As I step into the future, I’m testing the lines holding me to the past.  I want to know there is former rootedness and present footing for the last gasp. 

During my postgraduate studies, I took a course having to do with brain function.  A significant part of the learning had to do with aspects of memory.  As it turns out, memory is a malleable thing.  Approximately forty percent of a person’s vivid memories are factually inaccurate.  I said forty percent of a person’s vivid memories.  The truth is that much of what we think we know has been planted in our minds, not by Dr. Evil, but through the telling and retelling of events by family and peers until we sincerely believe the occurrences are memories of our own.  It is common for people to have false memories of events apart from nefarious plots.  I sometimes wonder if I got the past right even if I did live it.

Bittersweet memories are all I’m taking with me.  Reflection brings joy and sorrow- often at once.  It is passing strange that it is precisely the sadness which creates beauty.  This is one of life’s mysteries related to the Divine.  As the dark balances the light, so the shadows of life lend pleasantry to images and imaginations.  There is no goodness without wickedness, and even our hurts have healing properties in the continuum of our lives.  So, it is that I carry baggage (necessary and not so much) with me as reminders things did happen, and they did have meaning.  Moses said we spend our years as a tale that is told.  That’s what I have- stories of joy and pain, laughter and tears.  It hurts in a good way.

I don’t know what to do with some things.  How do I file away the past, and who would care to go through the system anyway?  I can’t shake the hopeless feelings I get when I remember events which seem to have no rational basis or were solely destructive in nature.  Rationalizing the irrantional is a vain pursuit.  And there are many valued antiquities I’ve forgotten.  It would have been nicer to have them sitting on the shelves of recall than the dusty, old shell-casings of ghosts.  I, sometimes, wonder how it is that I can forget the instances and remember the injury.  All I know is that, at this point, I find myself hurting a lot.  While I don’t question God, I question nearly everything else.  It can hurt in a bad way.

You have been a part of my life.  Though I see worth in your contributions, I probably do not even understand the depth of your influence.  In some way, I have been a part of your story, as well.  When did our paths cross, and what were the outcomes?  There may have been things we should have said to one another or, perhaps, unsaid.  A poet wrote, “The moving finger writes and, having writ, moves on.”  There are days beyond recall for sure, and these should remind us that each moment is fleeting and fragile whether good or ill spent.  I hope that your memory of me will bring a smile, and I sincerely desire to think of you with joy.  In our broken world, such thought will be health-giving, and the rest we will commit to God.

Sterl      

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