What does it take to remember really well? I’m surprised at what I forget – so here’s how I hold on to the good moments.
With apologies for the hiatus… life has been busy for a while, but I’ve found a window of opportunity today to join the #fmfparty and write unedited for 5 mins on a theme sent out by Kate Motaung. The word-prompt today is FORGET. (You can join in too – here’s how.)
I know a lot of us are going through the events of our lives trying to capture them on a mobile phone camera. ‘Kodak moments’ might well be captured on a phone, but if we’re honest, we don’t usually go back through them after the event much. Even then, the picture that was captured doesn’t do the glory of the moment much justice.
There is value, of course, in keeping photos to prompt the memory. In fact, I have a whole decade where there are next to no photos of me… I have very little recollection of that season, partly because I must have been too ill, or too depressed to want to remember it. A colleague (and someone I happened to have been at Uni with) recently brought a photo from that season in for me to see. I hadn’t seen a picture of myself from that season – ever – and it was shocking to see me staring back at me. Yes, I had lived through that season. Yes, look at me, surrounded by happy friends, smiling myself, sharing a laugh. It wasn’t all bad. For some reason the negative of that tough season of life had swamped out the joy that had been there all along.
I am now keeping a little notebook and write a couple of sentences in it every day: what went well today? What was happy or beautiful? What grace and good didn’t I deserve? What joy surprised me? There’s always something to note. And I deliberately choose not to note all the things I’d rather hadn’t happened. It’s a way of ‘holding onto the good‘, and choosing what I want to remember in future.
But there’s one more thing. Sometimes we forget that our own souls are like old-skool camera film. The experiences of joy and sorrow do impress themselves forever on our hearts, just like photos were captured on the film negative. If we are truly living vulnerably, with a childlike openness to the joys and pains of life, our hearts and souls are living with a wide aperture, capturing and remembering the full picture.
Who needs a phone full of skew-wiff photos, when our hearts are so good at remembering the beauty and intense sorrows of life so vividly? It’s all beautiful, the good and the bad… and maybe we’ll sit through the eternal slide-show when we get to heaven, seeing and celebrating our lives with a rounded, and joyful, and heavenly perspective.