Every day in our life's journey holds its own special treasures, if we have eyes to see...

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Memories in the Making

Today's experience is tomorrow's memory. 

Why, then, does it often feel so mundane in the here and now? I find this interesting, along with the fact that often the making of the memories is rather unmemorable or even not that enjoyable. For example, we recently went on a hike to a nearby lake, then panned for gold in a tributary creek after exploring the entrance to an honest-to-goodness goldmine from the 1800's and a nearby stamp mill  complete with gold sluices and ore crusher. Brilliant stuff.

Reality? It was hovering close to 100 degrees. Just standing brought a sweat, much less the mile and a half hike. Two out of three of the teens involved were ready to be finished befiore we ever set out, and not only did we find no gold, the water was so cold we went numb from the ankles down. The kids kept pressing to be finished and back at the car while my hubby and I lagged behind trying to soak in the moment. This was only partially successful--I find it hard to soak in a moment when I'm aware that not everyone is thrilled.

But in memory? I see blue skies and tall trees, hear again crystalline water tumbling over rocks and the singing of wind in the pines. Holding hands. Laughter. Wonder. The excitement of discovery. And the more time goes by, the harder it is to recall the negatives. In fact, just today I told the story to some friends and for the moment truly forgot there were any less-than-happy campers or less-than-ideal circumstances.

Sometimes we want to live in memories because they are much more comforting and comfortable than the here and now. One of the flaws in this practice, of course, is that life passes us by while we look backwards at what has become in our memory a high point in life. Taken to the extreme, this backward yearning can cause us to lose whole chunks of our timeline. You see this sometimes--people re-living, recounting, recalling their glory days, while their very life slips by them unvalued. What a waste, for if we spend our efforts seeking to re-live or re-create the past, we cannot store away as much of today. And
today is the fuel of tomorrow's memories.

At the same time, this phenomenon of only remembering the best moments seems like a very useful piece of information to keep in mind during the day-to-dayness or the harder parts of life. If I remind myself that one day whatever less-than-amazing thing I'm experiencing will be past, and that I will look back at it through the golden veil of  memory, then perhaps those elements will seem less like slogging it out and more like something purposeful and ultimately fulfilling. It reminds me of a favorite verse--

"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." NIV

With that in view, it only makes sense to embrace this day--mundane or otherwise--in such a way that we have a foretaste of that glory, so that when tomorrow comes, we can look back on moments made richer and more intense by the value which we have given them in the now...

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