Tuesday, September 01, 2009


Words from Henri J. M. Nouwen, Bread for the Journey.....

The Companionship of the Dead
As we grow older we have more and more people to remember, people who have died before us. It is very important to remember those who have loved us and those we have loved. Remembering them means letting their spirits inspire us in our daily lives. They can become part of our spiritual communities and gently help us as we make decisions on our journeys. Parents, spouses, children, and friends can become true spiritual companions after they have died. Sometimes they can become even more intimate to us after death than when they were with us in life. Remembering the dead is choosing their ongoing companionship.

Yesterday's post here at MindSieve regarding MOMENTS was rattling through my head as I contemplated what I might post today. I took a quick break from reading to visit the bathroom. A book was present and begged for a read during my "down time." I opened to Nouwen's words above. These seem terribly important to me in this moment and in the many moments coming together the last few months in which I've been endeavoring to waken childhood memories of myself, my immediate family, my ancestry.

I'm also reading a fascinating book (on my IPhone) written by savant, Daniel Tammet, entitled Embracing the Wide Sky - A Tour Across the Horizons of the Mind. This fascinating read quotes scientific research regarding how we remember through all of our senses - examples of remembering for me would be the presence of a tiny childhood school desk, or smelling blackboard chalk dust, or seeing a Christmas tree decorated with a little or a lot or way too many aluminum icicles:) With just a little coaxing sometimes, memories have come flooding back into my consciousness.

Over All Saints Weekend in October, I plan to attend a workshop entitled Honoring Our Ancestors,I don't know what I'll find during the retreat time, but I know that recently recalling with my siblings childhood and our early memories of family life together has had a meaningful effect on me, bringing joy, laughter and actual "aha" moments regarding the affect certain childhood incidents have played out in my behavior as an adult.

Have you had similar experiences in your life when a memory long-forgotten is prompted to join you in the present moment? Perhaps a Facebook comment or a blogger's post has tickled your memory. Over at Lucy's place yesterday, she talked about one of her memories, seemingly locked away in time that was resurrected by a friend's words. Do you have memories that you would like to unlock (perhaps some of them you would prefer locked away); recalling a scene from childhood is an amazing mind exercise and one you might enjoy. Let me know if you can resurrect something you thought you'd long forgotten. I would love to hear about it.


  1. This is beautiful SS, I love the Nouwen quote (and may have to, ahem, "borrow" it) ;-) and the other book you mention sounds fabulous. Even more wonderful though is this journey you are taking into memory and deeper into yourself. I can't wait to see what you discover. Love, C

  2. the nouwen quote is indeed something to ponder. i am not surprised that the abbey might like to "borrow" it :-) i have literally been trying for months to recall who i roomed with for one quarter in college. i asked the people i thought would know and lo and behold the answer dropped into my lap yesterday along with the other recovered memory. "it" seems to all be inside me. just a matter of the right combination of scent, smell, time or word to release it.

    i'm so glad you (we) are not one of those who says, "what's the point?" while i can't define exactly the point, it somehow seems important. xoxoxo

  3. Abbey - I certainly thought of you when my eyes fell on Henri's words this a.m. I know he would be honored for you to "borrow" his quote, and I would be too:) I'm just having a lot of fun with this memory stuff.

    Lucy - Yes, "it" is all in there and summoning it up is pretty amazing. It's workin' for me and there is a point - a great deal of joy comes along with blessed remembering:)


  4. I've found myself thinking about my father a lot during the news coverage surrounding Ted Kennedy's death. Dad also had a strong service and justice ethic and although he didn't have Kennedy's family connections (nor his particular failings!) he worked away faithfully in service to his community in many ways. When he died we were a little amazed at the sheer number of people who mourned with us.

  5. Tess, thanks for your note regarding your Father's presence in your memory. I'm just beginning to reclaim these emotions for myself with both parents. Why does it take us getting old to open up our heads to the wonderful healing of remembering?