The work to forget, can be as difficult as the trying to remember.
“The time is ripe for looking back over the day, the week, the year, and trying to figure out where we have come from and where we are going to, for sifting through the things we have done and the things we have left undone for a clue to who we are and who, for better or worse, we are becoming. But again and again we avoid the long thoughts….We cling to the present out of wariness of the past. And why not, after all? We get confused. We need such escape as we can find. But there is a deeper need yet, I think, and that is the need—not all the time, surely, but from time to time—to enter that still room within us all where the past lives on as a part of the present, where the dead are alive again, where we are most alive ourselves to turnings and to where our journeys have brought us. The name of the room is Remember—the room where with patience, with charity, with quietness of heart, we remember consciously to remember the lives we have lived.”
― Frederick Buechner,
― Frederick Buechner,
Four years ago on the first of September, I landed in an unknown hometown. A wary excitement filled me for this new beginning, a fourth new beginning of what had been a series of unrequested life events. I remember the excitement of seeing the mountains from my dining room window, this prairie girl with prairie bicycle legs. A town in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains was a scenery change of significant elevation.
Landscapes of the physical variety are easier to modify than the minefields of the mind. For many people, it seems easier to plod on in a difficult known, than to move into the unknown.
And yet radical life changes require radical responses. Radical choices.
My mother of ninety-one lives in the room to remember. She may not remember what she had for lunch, but, start her up on a memory lane conversation and she can tell you how the fly ball felt as it smacked into her bare hands to clinch the game. She was the hero of her country school! Of the days of her drinking husband, she says: “Those were hard times, but we got through them.”
She has a selective memory. Memory can be revisited.
I would like to remember my life as worthwhile and wonderful.
The past is a foundation for the day, the future gives hope. The past and future collide into this moment of today, this present, which is exactly that – a present moment, a gift to be opened and deeply appreciated. I want to live my life in such a way, that when I am my mother’s age, my room to remember will be positively full. For today I am here, in this moment celebrating the lives I have lived!
Here’s to the anniversaries you celebrate today. A reason to be grateful. Thanks to my sister-in-law for introducing me to this musical artist, Josh Garrels, and this song about understanding further along: Check out this song!
Jocelyn is the Author of Who is Talking out Of My Head, Grief as an out of Body experience.