My friend Judi recently approached me about my column – Your Tribe. She said she had an idea on a subject to write about. She shared her idea with me and I thought it was a great idea. In fact, I told her I thought she was an angel from God or one of God’s messengers.
I always ask God to use me for His purpose and give me the topics as well as the words to write.
So, you can see how I might have thought Judi was a special messenger.
Each day brings us the potential for becoming one of tomorrow’s memories. An interesting thought to ponder – memories. Certainly we aren’t always aware of the memories we make, while sometimes we are quite intentional about creating memories. Memories have amazing power and can invite all kinds of emotion.
Many songs have been written about the good old days, where the artist remembers the “Glory Days”, Bruce Springsteen, or being “Young”, Kenny Chesney, or the “Good Old Days”, Macklemore.
Something rather curious about memories is that the events in our lives that hurt us, are painful or uncomfortable, often fade with time while the sweet moments in life which provide a memory, become more treasured as time marches on. What a gift that we have the ability to forget the wrongs, the negatives, the stuff that brought us down, and can find comfort in very simple things like childhood play, friends from the past and adventures we have been on.
Memories have the ability to draw people together because of sharing the same family, going to the same school, living in the same town or state, and many, many other things. A few months ago I was able to travel with my sister to my parents’ hometown. As I was preparing for this trip I talked with my brother on the phone. He asked if I remembered going to Willow Plunge. I didn’t remember anything by that name but as he started telling my about this place, it brought back memories of visiting our relatives and going to this wonderful place to swim.
I could remember a nearly perfect picture of this amazing swimming pool, where the snack place was, where the changing rooms were, the graduated height diving boards, and where we sat on a grassy bank to dry off.
We talked for several minutes about the great memories we both had, sharing a piece of our past, our memories together.
As I mentioned in a previous column, my parents both passed away many years ago. When I’m with my siblings and we talk about our “growing up years” or family holidays, or vacations, or various details about our parents’ lives; we tend to have different memories. As we talk together, we are able to take what each of us remembers and put together a better picture. Sharing our individual remembrance of our past with each other forms a more complete memory.
Our memories offer a treasured legacy. We can inherit our love for nature, our positive attitude, strong work ethic, love of art and/or music because of the legacy someone has passed onto us. Our son Jake became very close to one of his roommates, Doug Di’Cenzo, when they were cadets at the United States Military Academy. They had a tremendous friendship, both outstanding young men yet agreeing that each made the other a better person. After graduation they began their service to our Country, and in 2006 when both were serving in Iraq, Doug was struck by an IED, improvised explosive devise, and died instantly.
The heartache and pain felt over the loss of Doug, has been profound. He was a larger than life kind of guy. He filled a room with his presence, not because he was trying to grab attention in any way, but because his personality was so big. He always saw the silver lining, was always so positive, lived his life to the fullest, was a most loving husband, father, son, brother and friend and incredible leader for the teams he wrestled on and played football with, and the troops he led.
He will ALWAYS be remembered and the memories we have of Doug have comforted us in our grief and spurred us on to be better because he lived better. We are left with a rich legacy he left – our memories of Doug.
I feel like memories make us stronger individuals. They help shape us, remind us of where we have been, and build our character. We can learn from our memories as well as be comforted by our memories. While I also believe it is not good to live in our past, I think it is important to treasure our memories.
The takeaway from this column is hopefully to value your past, no matter where you came from, and live fully and intentionally each day as you are creating tomorrow’s memories. Don’t pass up opportunities that come knocking. My 50th high school reunion (I truly can’t even believe it!) is coming soon. I went to the 10th, 20th, 30th and 40th reunions, but wasn’t really planning on going to the 50th. I was letting some self doubt creep in and was worried that I really wouldn’t know anyone and so on and so on. A couple of months ago I went ahead and registered and now am totally looking forward to this event.
Fear could have kept me from going but I didn’t let fear win.
Call a friend and sit down with a glass of ice tea and visit. Go for a walk with a neighbor. Take pictures and let yourself be IN pictures. Tell your grandkids stories of your childhood and remind your children of things they did as little ones.
Cherish each day and the memories you have made and continue to make.~Anne
Anne Miller is TableThink’s columnist for Your Tribe. Anne’s writing takes us home, reminding us of what really matters. She invites you to the TableThink tribe . . . and to know it’s . . . Your Tribe.
Anne invites us: “I hope you will feel inspired to connect, reconnect, or get to know someone in your community, realizing it is not about entertaining – holding the attention of – it is about “being” together, sharing life and relationship.”