Firsts are amazing, aren’t they? I experienced the first snow of this season yesterday. I admit I’m easily amazed, but the newness of the white covering the ground seems like a clean slate full of possibility and redemption. What firsts do you remember? Do you remember that first taste of coffee? Or seeing your first snowfall? Or maybe your first family vacation? What about that first interaction with your love? The leap in our heart stays with us and is stamped and coded for easy recall, giving us courage for the future new experiences to come, while keeping us lightly tethered to something meaningful in our past.
But undoubtedly, this gift of remembering can be misused. It could become an escape, a coping mechanism, a retreat from the present, instead of emboldening us with gritty determination. I don’t think remembering is meant to be an escape to past”safety”, nor is it meant to carry us away in the unknown allurement of the future. So how is this gift used?
Presence is a tricky thing, don’t you think? It’s always moving. It is the power of time and love combined. Just typing these words mean they have in this space of time become the past. It’s a weird concept. But in the present we carry the sum of our physical, spiritual, emotional and mental experiences of what has been up to this point. This makes us comfortable and cozy amidst our good memories. They are strong, fierce, warm and nostalgic. We don’t have to work for them to come back into our thoughts. But maybe the reminiscing is not the focus. Maybe it is meant to be like a background color on a portrait painting. It’s chosen to enhance the subject of “the present” to be even more inviting, more alluring, more understood, more. It gives context. It’s a code for understanding so that as we move into time, we understand it is to be prized, precious and gratitude-filled.
Memory is a powerful force. It can be the elixir of courage we need in the present moment. It can be the faint aroma that ignites part of us that we’ve forgotten, but need to know still exists.
I love this idea. From that perspective, both the good and the bad memories can provide the context for us to deeply appreciate the present moment.