Like dust or lint, like coins or stamps or photographs, we collect memories in various ways. Think of a roller coaster. My mention of it brings a memory, happy or thrilling or perhaps frightening to you as if it were a moment ago. Chances are you can picture who you were with, the clothes you had on, and which park that roller coaster was in. Memories are powerful indicators of where we were, what we’ve done and in some cases, who we were. I say who we were, because we change over time or at least have presented to us the opportunity to change.
My daughter, Emily, wrote a descriptive essay for her English class. She titled it, Fire. In it, she talked about the cottage and the fire pit, which is her favorite place at the cottage. The stories and laughter that were shared, the s’mores that were eaten, the chorus of frogs and crickets in the dark, the fish splashing in the lake. I knew that the cottage means a lot to her. But she wrote this based on her memories, which were built over time. And interestingly enough, we’ve not been to the cottage in three years. How powerful our memories are!
My older daughter, Hannah, likes family get-togethers because we tell family stories. Some are embarrassing, many of them funny, some sad. It’s a glimpse of our life growing up and gives her, and each other, a reassurance of family history. The tree fort, the tire swing, the green apple tree, the river. The card game after holiday meals, the camping trips and the tent that leaked each and every summer it was used, and the family sing-a-longs. The Saturday morning ritual of my mom, Hannah’s grandmother, baking bread and buns in the kitchen and the rich, mouthwatering smell associated with that. Hannah never experienced this, but through our story telling and our laughter, sometimes our tears, she gets to imagine it, perhaps live it for herself.
In an earlier post, A Drop In The Ocean, I talked about how my life was transformed by a teacher, Mrs. Mehring. To this day, 49 years later, I can picture the classroom, my desk, her face, the color of her hair, the tone of her voice and some of the words she used. I can do that with Sr. Josephe’ Marie, my sixth grade teacher, who to this day, I still correspond with and who I seek advice from. Parents, friends, other family members. Family trips.
Which all lead me to, The Memories We Make. Formed from the words we use and the tone of voice used to express them, places we’ve been to and who we were with. Formed from our actions, a touch, a whisper, a smile, a pat on the back or a hug. Formed by just being present, by listening, by consoling, by . . .
What is our part in the memories being made by those around us? What memories will our children make from the material we give them? What memory will our wife or husband make from our words, our actions, our gestures? What memories will our colleagues- those above and below and on the same level- make from our interactions with them? In short, how will we be remembered, or more importantly, how do we want to be remembered? If what we’re doing and saying today is contrary to that answer, perhaps we need to change course and get back on that path that will lead to the memory we want people, our children, our loved ones, our friends and acquaintances to remember us by. Whether we like it or not, each of us helps make memories for others. And for ourselves. Something to think about . . .
Live Your Live, Make A Difference!