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I’m struggling to remember today. I’ve never had the sort of memory that’s good with specific details of events the way some people have – who was in the room, what they wore, where they sat and what they said and all the ensuing conversations. And they remember all the events, not just one! These are the storytellers in a family. Instead, I will remember the bigger picture, like it was a housewarming party, or it was a warm evening, or I’ll recall the feelings – how much we laughed or how annoyed everyone was. If someone starts filling in the details, the story will often come back to me with a sense of, “Oh yeah, that’s right. I remember that happening.”

This is neither a gift nor an affliction. It’s just how I’m made. In my 20s and 30s, my friends would tease me about it, and I’d just shrug it off with my standard reply that I live in the present. I haven’t changed much.

So, when I do try to remember what I said or how I behaved at a specific event, as I am today, I often cannot. At least not without some friendly reminders from others who were there. So, for now, I’m just going to have to content myself with the big picture. I know it wasn’t all good, all the time. Life isn’t like that. Ever. But it was good some of the time, and it got better as time went by. And, I feel the blessing of recognition for remembering that.

We need all kinds of us to know our histories. We need the truth-tellers, the story-tellers, the myth-makers. We need honesty and analysis. We need context and understanding. All of this makes a life, whether it’s one person, one family, one country. Whatever stories you tell yourself or others in your life tell you, and whether you remember it all or you remember only parts, remember this: Pain and sorrow are part of it; kindness and love are part of it; meaning and growth are what you make of it.

Make the most of all of it.

(Here is a beautiful poem by Joy Harjo called "Remember.")

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