What do you remember from the earliest days? I remember being sad for my big brother because the dog died. I don’t remember the dog, but I was so sad for my bro because he was crying and hurting over this loss. I was little kindergartener leaning against the door frame. Another memory was when my younger brother was burned badly from the grease in an electric frying pan he pulled off the counter. I don’t remember that part of the trauma, but I remember that I was waiting in a car late that evening, watching and looking up to the upper levels of the hospital windows wishing to see my family. Then I remember seeing someone female I thought using an ironing board to iron. Okay, so was I really at the hospital? I don’t know that either, but my mind always remembers it around that incident. There are other memories, but earlier ones are more sketchy than that.
What about school age? Here is one for you. My dad was a pipeline welder and we moved with the pipeline, so I did not go to kindergarten because of these moves and such was the time. I moved 41 times before my 7th grade year. So, one time, when we had settled back next door to my granny’s house for the cold weather, I went to my “first” day of 1st grade. The other students had been there for days, but this was my “first day” ever in an institution of education. The youngsters were seated and quiet as they used pencils to mark papers. As I sat down I looked around for some visual clues as to what I was supposed to do. The teacher, Mrs. Worsham, walked by and hit my hand with a fly swatter and told me to “quit cheating.” Again, I repeat, this was in first grade, on my first day of school ever in my short life, yelled at and hit and told to quit cheating which I did not even know how to do. Thus my introduction to education.
Jump forward about 50 years. Now, I rarely look back unless my spirit taps me on the shoulder and prompts me to remember. This month I was tapped…on the shoulder and pointed in the direction to pay attention. These are not easy tasks but I try to obey. This one knocked the wind out of me. As happens on FB from time to time, not often, but once in a while I am tagged in a pic from long ago. The pics that surfaced were from a summer Bible campaign in the NE with select college students from surrounding sister colleges. I had not thought of these people for some time. I experienced lasting lessons from a couple of the trips I had taken along the NE coast which shaped who I am today. Yet, many of the people and faces I had forgotten. As I looked through the memories chronicled there I started remembering. Some names came to me, and I connected soulfully again to those whose smiles were infectious. I couldn’t resist the pull to reach out to those easy to locate and the ones who made me laugh. So far I have only heard back from one. That is fine. I obeyed the tap. The outcome is not mine. The action to do as I was led is. I look forward to the day some of the timing for this makes sense. But if that day does not happen on this side I will continue to act on the prompts. I believe that I am here to do that.
What do we do with memory, some great, some good, some we long to never be prompted to revisit? I personally live in the moment, but when the brain waves spark with memory I look to it to give thanks even in the unknown surrounding it. I lean into the stimuli behind it, accept the rush of sentiment, and try to process the emotions escorting it. I’m not sure if the frequency of these recurring memories are a part of the aging process or because they enlighten and move me to more compassion towards others. I would like to think there is a reason, but, again, I’m not privy to the scope of that particular info from the spiritual realm.
Today I will give thanks for the flood of beautiful memories, faces, places, and learning that took place for my good. I wish I could “replay” and “redo” as in a computer game. I would be more kind and understanding of all the players including myself. I would say “Thank you” more, and “God bless you!” I would tell people they were fine right where they were and perfect in God’s eyes. I would tell them forgiveness is there’s to accept. I would see them as a first love sees with wonder and awe into the depths of the precious soul directly across from them. The old photo’s captured exact moments that reminded me to cherish the present much more. Thus, maybe, the tap on my shoulder to revisit the pics as I did and see then, where I offered people and those times my service, I now will do so with much more awe and adoration for the moment at hand. I do wish I had told those across from me then how special they were. But, there are no “do-overs.” There are, however, new opportunities in the present to show more love for those who sit across from me.
Memories serve us even if we do not revisit them much. They will guide us to be better if we allow them. What do you remember? I remembered love so I end with this.
1 Corinthians 13:13