There’s an old country gospel song I learned as a child. I’m not sure who wrote the words or the music, but it was sung and recorded by various artists throughout the years. The version I learned was performed by Johnny Cash. The opening lines go like this:
“Precious memories, unseen angels,
Sent from somewhere to my soul.
How they linger ever near me,
And the sacred past unfolds.
Precious memories how they linger,
How they ever flood my soul.
In the stillness of the midnight.
Precious sacred scenes unfold.”
It seems the older I get, the more time I spend reflecting on the past. Maybe that happens because there are most likely more years behind me than ahead of me now. One thing I find interesting about memories is their randomness. The other day, I was sitting at my dining room table working on a 1,000 piece puzzle. I always have a puzzle going. I find it to be very relaxing as well as memory provoking. My dad used to do puzzles. He taught me to put the edge together first, how to distinguish the subtle color differences in the various pieces, and he always saved the sky for me! It was my favorite part. As I was working on my puzzle, a child’s song popped into my head. I remembered learning the song as a first grader in Kaegebein Elementary School. Not only that, I remember the day that I learned it there was a thunderstorm happening outside. I was very afraid of thunder as a child, so each lightning flash would find me tightly closing my eyes in hopes that the noise from the thunder would somehow not happen. I know–that makes no sense, but as a six year old child, I would try anything to escape the noise while trying to not let the other kids see that I was afraid.
Why do I remember that? It certainly wasn’t a monumental event that shaped my life, yet the memory bank of my mind contains countless scenes such as that one. They replay at various times and can trigger emotions that range from happy to sad, from nostalgic to annoying, from fondness to disdain. I’ve often wondered if memories really are precious, as the song quoted above makes them out to be.
This morning, as I was checking my E-Mail, I saw my daily Facebook E-Mail, telling me that I had memories to look back on. If you aren’t familiar with the process, Facebook keeps track of all the statuses you post. If you allow it to, the service generates what it is called “Your memories on Facebook” every day. Because I have my settings programmed to send me notification E-Mails, I receive several E-Mails each day telling me various things about my Facebook account. If someone posts in a group that I belong to, I receive an E-Mail alerting me to it. Likewise, each morning I am notified that Facebook has retrieved my memories for the day. Sometimes reading those old posts makes me smile, like when I posted a conversation between my youngest daughter and me that took place in a bookstore. Sometimes those memories make me sad. I know this week will hold one of those as the anniversary of losing my beloved cat, Molly, will show up in my memories. Sometimes those memories make me wish I could rewind time and redo or linger a bit longer in something I wished away. This morning brought that type of memory.
Six years ago today, I posted a video on Facebook of my younger son, then a junior in high school, performing a piece of a song at a private music school he attended on the weekends. I remember having to get up every Saturday morning, earlier than I would have liked, to drive him to downtown Minneapolis to the MacPhail School of Music. There he would spend three hours learning music theory, getting voice lessons, and being instructed in performing on stage. I would bring a large backpack of things to work on since the drive was too far for me to go back home and there wasn’t much around the school to do on a Saturday morning. By the time we returned home, the day was more than half over and usually another activity was waiting in the wings–basketball, play practice at the school, indoor soccer, etc… Often I would wish that we could just have a normal weekend…stay home, sleep in, clean the house, watch TV, read, etc… But today, as I watched the video, I found myself wishing I could go back to 2010 and watch him perform at MacPhail again. He is now married and is the youth pastor at our church. Yes, all the money spent on that program and he doesn’t even sing or act anymore. 🙂 Still, I wished it away, and now I wish I could be that younger mom once again…the mom who chauffeured him (and his siblings) all over creation so they could do all the activities they could pack into their schedules, complain sometimes at having to do it, yet beam with pride when watching their hard work pay off. Maybe I just wish I was needed again.
Yes, memories are precious. I think I have replayed that short video five times this morning. Each time, I smile. This week, as pictures of my beloved Molly pop up in my Facebook memories, I’m sure there will be tears of sadness over missing her, yet, at the same time, I am so thankful I was her human for ten years. Even the sad memories are precious when I really stop to think about it.