Now that another New Year’s Eve is here, we humans, are magnificent creations. We have what we need to thrive and survive and display outstanding talents and skills. And one of the most wonderful and complex parts of us is our brain. Everything we ever heard or experienced is held in our brain. It’s all there, most of it tucked away in secret forever. But we have our memories. And some of our past is never lost.
“A memory is a photograph taken by the heart to make a special moment last forever.” ~ Unknown
Memories come to us in several ways. You may want to recapture something from the past, so you think of it, and it becomes real again. Other times you encounter things like a song, a special memento, or a similar experience that brings up a memory. And you remember what brought you joy and what brought you pain. And you relive those times.
When something comes to you from the past, you remember. You remember those heartfelt happy times, and you cling to the experience when you see it, you feel it, you taste it and breathe in the sweet scent. You remember. And for a moment, you’re lost in time. You reach out. You want it back. But you feel the bittersweet quality of memory, and you have to let it go…maybe with a smile…maybe not. And memories are a part of life. So you live with them and treasure each one.
“Sometimes memories sneak out of my eyes and roll down my cheeks.” ~Avena
But all memories are not the happy ones. Sometimes they awaken a pain in your heart you thought was gone, never to return and torture you. Maybe you remember the loss of a loved one, an opportunity you missed, a betrayal by a friend, words that cut deep to your soul, experiences you don’t want to ever see or feel again. But you remember and you relive the whole episodes with the same tips and turns, the confusion, the unbelief, the heartfelt pain. You cringe and turn away. And the more you resist the memory, the stronger it gets. But memories are a part of life.
Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future. Lewis B. Smedes
Many people remember situations involving themselves and others that need forgiving. When this is accomplished, the memory remains, but the suffering is healed and gone. Years ago when I was working, every payday I put money away for my retirement fund. Then a couple years into retirement, I lost my money due to neglect by the person handling it. A bitter memory. Everyone makes mistakes, but if I’d paid off my house instead, things would have been different. And I might have more pleasant memories now. But peace comes with forgiveness.
“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” ~Dr. Seuss
There’s a saying, “Life is for making memories.” But as we move through life with one experience after another, we don’t actively create situations that might later become pleasant memories. We don’t even think about or fully realize what our experiences will look and feel like in a memory. So why not create happy situations today to bring happiness again tomorrow in the remembering. And what a better time to create good memories than in a holiday season.
This is a time of year when people are rushing to get things done, with little attention on what they’ll remember in the future. So pay attention to happiness that simply happens, and make some of it yourself. Enjoy the holiday season with family and friends, and maybe people you don’t even know.
Exchange lots of hugs, smile at strangers, play with children, sing out loud, skip up an aisle in the grocery store, call people by their names, share with your place of worship and charities. Be creative and do what makes you and others happy. This is a time to celebrate life and make memories you will cherish forever.
I wish you fun making your happy memories and in the New Year!
Marilyn Fowler, Author “Silent Echoes” and Me and Granmama in the Hill Country available now on Amazon online.
- I’m a retired Licensed Clinical Social