Remembering

I have an excellent short-term memory. In my high school AP history tests, I could call up the exact images of the pages I’d read before and the location of the answers to the questions. It was fabulous. Until I actually needed to remember something. And when that something was memories of my childhood (or nowadays, my teenage years, as they get increasingly distant!) it bothered—bothers–me that I can’t remember a thing.

I’ve been thinking about this lately as I’ve been driving around the city and walking the neighborhood that we are preparing to leave in 2 months when we move out-of-state. We’ve done big moves twice before, so I know that I will hold on tight for a time to the memories of the people and the places and the feelings I love here. But I also know that many memories will fade as we build new memories in a new place. Once again, the thought of forgetting the people who have been so good to us and the places where we have begun to raise 3 of our 4 children bothers me. These people and places have been and are important to me now—how could they not still be significant in the future?

Elder Eyring spoke of the importance of remembering in his conference address in October 2007. He recounted how he felt impressed to record moments when he had witnessed the hand of the Lord present in his daily life—“God’s kindness,” he called it, for times when he and his children would need the memories. I love how Elder Eyring talks about needing memories. The idea of memories as essential to our spiritual lives resonates with me.

So what to do about it, as a possessor of a lousy long-term memory? This past week I watched a TED talk by Cesar Kuriyama, who edits together one second videos from every day of his life in an attempt to remember the “tiny, beautiful, funny, tragic, moments.” I decided that would be easy enough: I’d give it a try. So for the past week, I’ve taken a 1-5 second video every day. I had great plans to merge them into a 7-10 second video to attach to this blog post, but, alas, it turns out that I don’t have the computer program (or the brain power at 10pm) to do so.

Cesar Kuriyama says that his one-second-every-day project has invigorated him to try to do something interesting with his life every day. So far, my one-second-every day videos haven’t spurred me on to do something interesting. Rather, they have reminded me that I am doing something interesting and worthwhile already. My favorites of the videos are not the “occasion” clips, like the Easter pageant at the Mesa temple, but are instead the everyday clips—like the grapefruit I picked off the tree and ate today, and the tantrum-throwing child in the following video:

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Although this is one of my favorite of the videos, this 1 second was, of course, not my favorite second of the week, because this scene has repeated itself in many more seconds throughout each of my days since child #4 was born 2 months ago, and I am TIRED of these seconds. But watching this video helps me put my total lack of parenting knowledge when it comes to this child into perspective a bit. Taking a video of the tantrum has allowed me to step back a bit and take the gritty of my everyday struggles with this child and reframe them as a “future memory,” as something worth preserving because it will not always be this way.

In his conference address Elder Eyring asks us to ponder nightly if God has a hand in our lives that day. While there is nothing about a child throwing a tantrum that reflects God’s hand in my life, I hope that in the future it will remind me how I have prayed about this child. That in turn will remind me how much I have needed and do need God.

How do you remember?
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About Catherine

(Prose Board) has worked as a cherry sorter, file girl, piano teacher, writer, editor, and college professor. She currently works full-time as the art director, events planner, chauffeur, and referee for her four children. She spends a good deal of her time running—be it down the supermarket aisle after an escaped child, around the living room in a heated game of flag football, or on early-morning runs/therapy sessions with her neighborhood friends. She earned her BA and MA in English from BYU and her PhD in English from UMass Amherst.

7 thoughts on “Remembering

  1. This site showcases the work of two BYU film professors who show us what moments in life are really worth capturing – just like you said, they’re the everyday moments. They actually mean something. Simple and beautiful:

    http://abouthomemovies.org/

  2. Recently I bought my sons and I each a journal, nominally for gratitude, but it’s up to each of us what we record. I think stopping to recognise helps us remember, and then different things can bring that memory back to us.

    My memory is like missing a step on a flight of stairs – it often leads to a tumble of more related memories once I get started.

    Your post also reminded me of a Cricket & Seagull podcast I listened to called “3 word journal” – it’s worth a listen for more remembering ideas.

  3. I, too, have a memory. Sometimes, I think it’s a blessing to help me make peace with things in my life. I have come to the conclusion that it will be restored in the eternities, when I will be able to more fully understand the bitter and still rejoice with those I have loved and who have loved me in this life. Although, I am a songwriter, and often try to write to help me preserve the moments.

  4. I keep a journal and have for the last 39 years. It’s come in handy and sometimes when I read them, I read about things that I have no memory of.

    I used to have an almost perfect memory; I mean, I didn’t forget anything. I took it for granted until now I don’t have a perfect memory. In fact, at 60, I can’t keep something in my mind for 10 seconds. My friends are experiencing the same thing. We are all dismayed, but are substituting a humorous outlook on life and fond long term memories. We’re starting to figure things out.

  5. Every Sunday, when I conference with each child and co-ordinate calendars, I keep a record of what I did in a “Sunday Notebook” At the very beginning of the entry, before I’ve even started with the kids, I record a small entry for the week that would hopefully spark a memory of the week. Like, for last week I would write, “Patty’s B-day party at rec center, Visited Grandma and Becky for conference, constant migraines, Liz suicide poem, Mayli runs for Secretary of Education, Spring Break. (Makes you wish you lived in my house, right?)
    I don’t have time to write everything, but I can write a few words about the week.
    Love, Love, Love your 2 second video of H. Someday you can blackmail him.

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