Monday, December 20, 2010


This is the fifth in my This I Believe Series.


Memories seem to be so straightforward; everyone has them, and how happy many of them make us. Memories simply make the holidays, so this post seems to be aptly timed to some extent. This year, we are staying home on Christmas day, not seeing any other family members for various reasons (not because we’re grinchy and self-consumed). This is really weird to me as if the holiday isn’t really a holiday. I can’t remember ever having such a Christmas ever before, and because I don’t have a memory of this, I feel somewhat lost in this unusual circumstance. I have no memory for it to tell me how it will be.

When I teach Developmental Reading, I choose to read The Giver with the kids, and this book is centered around a community that has no memories. Every memory (which is also translated as historical fact) is kept within one individual and is then subsequently passed down periodically to the next Receiver of Memories. Ultimately, the conclusion that the reader is intended to realize is that we actually cause more harm to our society if we don’t permit individual memories. Such a simple conceptual idea made all the difference for the demise of this community.

Obviously, individual memories are important. Isn’t this ability truly a magnificent gift? Just like any other God-given gift, I believe that we must learn to accept the imperfections that such an ability brings. There are innumerable circumstances where memories prove to be torturous rather than sustaining. Yet I believe that these painful memories are as necessary as any healthful ones. Do understand that I say this guardedly, however, because I am fully aware that such outright statements of belief are forcing me into a gray area between truth and arrogance, even hypocrisy. I truly believe in what I am saying, yet can I make such bold claims when my life has been sheltered and soft? I can’t say that I have had to endure and make some sense of agonizing memories, but does that negate my beliefs? My arrogance says no, that my beliefs are still valid in their honesty.

Regardless, memories are charming, poignant, heartrending bits of the past that are unique to each individual. I am comforted in knowing that for every memory in our individual pasts, there are also countless more that have yet to occur in our consciousness; but, our future memories are out there on our God’s radar. This, I truly believe.