What is remembering for?

May 27, 2019

 

What is remembering for? Today -- according to Logan's General Order #11 of May, 5, 1868, -- we decorate the graves of the the women and men who died in service to our country. We remember them and honor their sacrifice.

 

But what else is remembering for? It's for learning lessons. We remember mistakes we made so we don't repeat them, from touching a hot rack in the oven to crossing the street safely. We learn what foods agree with us and those that we cannot eat. It's for regaining our youth or happy memories. We recall the things that made us smile, laugh, feel silly or joyful from childhood, earlier times, or even yesterday. Happy recollections are profound sustenance for a joyful life and good family stories.

 

Remembering is for social self-preservation. We learn who we can trust and who to avoid or, at least, when to avoid them. We know the safe places, people and activities. Remembering is for witnessing and testimony. We acknowledge the gains and harms that have been done to us and recognize the impact those things have had on our lives.

 

Remembering is the story of our life -- it's literally who we are. It is important to know, however, that we often remember incorrectly. In fact, in stressful situations, eyewitness testimony is notoriously inaccurate. But, even in situations that are not fraught with weapons or overt violence, we are -- on a lesser level -- often worrying about our well-being over and over. And, as events unfold we do what humans do -- we make sense of what we see in the context of our already formed beliefs. We interpret. We create. And then, we remember.

 

Memorial Day, 2019: Remember those who have given their life for your country today. And remember that you have a story, a life. Your life is your story. Some of what you remember is your creation. You are always creating your life. 

 

This week, I wish you open-mindedness, and I remind you to live with compassion for yourself and compassion for others. 

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© 2015 - 2019 by Meg Reilly. All rights reserved.

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