Friday, June 08, 2007

The Power of Memories

Yesterday's post seemed to produce many more responses than I might have imagined. While it did provide lots of laughs, probably because many of us could relate, it also brought back lots of memories. And memories are a funny thing. We get to see them in any light we choose. We can choose to see them with humor, even if we didn't think they were very funny at the time. Sadness, anger or perhaps regret can also color our memories. But memories that are shared are most likely the best memories of all.

My family spends a lot of time sitting around talking about memories. When my Dad gets together with my Aunt, Uncles and my precious Nana, the laughter is commonly centered around some memory told in stories that make us all wish we were back there again, or at least that we could visit that place in time for awhile. My Mom or Dad will often spend time with Matthew sharing memories of lessons learned in the fields, streams and blocks around their houses from time spent with family and friends. And even Don and I will carry on around the dinner table, sharing memories from our lives with the kids.

We often don't think about how these memories effect those who listen, but I've seen the power they have first hand. As I watch my Nana listening to those around her, she has a certain smile she gets. One that tells me she's enjoying the memories even more than her children are. And then there's the look she gets every once in awhile that tells me they are sharing a memory she knew nothing about, and quite frankly I think that my Dad and his siblings are all probably wise to have kept that memory a secret until much later in life!

I've watched my friends as we gather together, never often enough, and we talk about past memories, both good and bad. There's a sense of melancholy that comes through their stories, as if they wished they could relive some of that again. Whether it is to redo a wrong, or have the absolute best time of their lives again is never discussed. It is just enough that we are sharing, drawing ourselves closer once again through time.

I've watched my husband as he talks about his Dad. His dad has been gone for years now and it is very apparent that he is still a guiding light in my husband's life. As he shares periodic stories with my boys, I watch them mesmerized at every word. The thing that surprises me the most about those particular memories is how the boys, especially Matthew, grows to identify with a man he never met. Since Don and I have only been married for 5 years, none of us ever met his Dad. Yet, there are days that we feel much like I do when my extended family is gathered around - like he is there sharing life with us. And I am even more amazed at what memories can do when I hear Matthew spouting something to his friends about his grandfather. No, not Poppy, but Grandpa Don. As if he heard it first hand and has adopted it as his own. I smile from the bottom of my very soul on those days and thank the Lord for blending our families together so well.

Yes, memories are unique. They have the power to bring us together better than you might ever imagine when you are in the midst of what will become a memory for someone else someday. My brother wrote me a note after reading yesterday's post. He shared even more memories, some that I had forgotten. Those memories brought about even more stories from my past, stories that I'll have to remember to share with the boys some day soon. He ended his email by saying "Thinking back, we had some really great times. Thanks for jogging my memory." We did have some great times. Thanks, Scott. You were a great partner in crime, er, brother. Life was definitely sweet back then. Makes you wonder what our kids will remember, doesn't it?

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