This weekend in the USA we celebrate Memorial Day, a day for remembering our war dead. It has become the de facto beginning of Summer, yet we still take time to stop and remember and say a prayer of thanks for those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice for our county. Remembrance and honor.
It’s gotten me to thinking about the nature of memory and it’s step-child, nostalgia.
Memory is a funny thing. Two people can have such different recollections of the same events. I’ve always wondered about that, how it could be. It seems that our memories are subject to the many things that shape our perspectives, our perceptions, our reality.
Events that are crystal clear in our minds today may fade and become fuzzy over time, the rough edges of memory smoothed and rounded like pebbles in a stream. Is it a self defense mechanism or more like a file storage thing? I don’t know the answer, I just know that it seems to be true.
As a result, we tend to view our past through a gauzy haze – all sweetness and light. Full of soft focus and shadows. Even the painful events can take on a lower level of intensity over time. Obviously, some events become seared into our hearts, minds and souls and appear to be the exceptions to this rule.
The happy seems happier, and the painful, more so. Can either really be trusted? I don’t know. I’m just making an observation here.
I do believe, however, that we can become trapped in these memories. They represent some idillic reality that we wish would return.
Well, unless you have a TARDIS or a DeLorean, you’re not going back.
Sometimes we even seek shelter in this place from the present and the future. Life is hard and everyone has a struggle.
As for me, I resolve to leave the past behind, where it belongs. Sure, it has shaped who I am today, but I will not allow it undue influence on my today or my tomorrows.
So, here’s to today and tomorrow! I can only live today and plan for tomorrow. Hope and plan. We have no guarantee of tomorrow. Hell, not so sure about the rest of today.
Let’s make memories that can’t be trusted…