Thursday, June 12, 2008

"Memory - the presence of the past within us"

Reading Winter Grace, Spirituality and Aging by Kathleen Fischer, she describes in small part what memory is and how it shapes our lives. "Memory enables us to hold fast to our identity and shape it in new ways. Beneath the annoyance we experience at not being able to recall names and dates or find our glasses is the nagging fear that some part of us is slipping away." In later words - "We do not merely have these memories; we are these memories. Western culture tends to view time as more destructive than creative. But memory is a way of describing the cumulative nature of time, the presence of the past within us. Not only is memory fundamental to personal identity; it is central to religious identity. Memory reveals God's presence in our life."

Further on Fischer quotes from Fredrick Buechner's - The Sacred Journey - wherein Buechner stresses that we can continue to learn from all of our memories. "Memory," he says, "is not the looking back to a past that no longer exists. Rather, it allows us to look into an altogether new kind of time where everything that ever was continues to be."

I find the words of Fischer and of Buechner to be hope filled statements in that memory, i.e., ourselves are the wondrous result of everything that has ever been and still we continue with the chance to produce more memories and to become even more of what we were created to be.

Memory for me today, at least for now and as I settle into sleep tonight, will be the warm sunshine after days of rain, a drive through green waving wheat fields, with glimpses of new snow atop our mountains, casual, yet meaningful conversation with my spouse - blessings too rich to be forgotten quickly - not an ordinary, but an extraordinary day.

I hope your day was extraordinary also and that if you think it not to have been on the surface, that you'll reach deep into the day's memory and find that one sweet moment you were given - maybe it was just one quiet moment or just a drop of cream in your coffee:)

Photo memory - Cannon Beach, OR 12/07


  1. That's a lovely practice-- to pick out something, or many things, worth remembering from each day and be grateful. Yesterday I too watched the wind make amazing ripples scooting around in the wheatfields. They looked alive, or like mounds made by fast moving moles dashing in all directions. :)

  2. Wren - Isn't imagination the most miraculous part of our brain...."like mounds made, etc." - such a fun vision. Thanks for reading and writing:)

  3. lovely post. there really is no such thing as an "ordinary" day when we choose to open our eyes, is there?

    yesterday we had a fleeting glimpse of sunshine and i happened to be in my car at the time. i chose to quickly put the top down and breathe deeply into the fresh, almost warm air. it is a beautiful memory...extraordinary really :-)


    here's to memory!!!

  4. I've noticed with some relatives as they aged that older memories seemed to come closer, even while they were having trouble remembering the keys etc. Perhaps that's age's way of helping us look at the entirety of our lives, not just the last five minutes.