I have a friend who loves hitting all the yard sales on the weekend. The treasures and antiques she brings home fill both floors of her historic house. The house in fact was built in 1849 and is on record as the oldest standing house in the town. The last time I was there she had her latest finds sitting on the dinning room table; as she picked up a piece of glassware she said, “I know I do not need any of these things, but I could not resist, they were just dripping with memories.” She took the piece to the kitchen where she began to wash it ever so gently, as not to damage the piece or wash way the memories it carried.
All the way home and thereafter I could hear her voice in my head saying, “…dripping with memories.” It was as if I could see the memories flowing across the piece like thick, sweet honey leaving drops one here and there as the piece was pasted through time. I thought as I looked around me the memories in my own home and one step further to the memories of the people I know and have known in my life. I came to the realization that the people like the objects we cherish are also dripping with memories. We can see it in their faces, their posture, their smile or lack of, we can hear the memories echoed in their voice. Like the modern day scrapbooking craze we too are scrapbooks of the memories we hold dear, but unlike the craze we have a section of pictures and pages filled with memories we would choose to forget. We place these memories on the last page of our minds, yet they have a way of shifting themselves to the front of the book without our conscious minds permission.
We all have them they can be as simple as an occasion of humiliation, or as violent as an accident or uncontrollable circumstances as the death of a loved one, illness or even abuse. As we grow older; we try to be tougher we push them further to the back of the book. They resurface without invitation in the look in our eyes, the intolerance of our attitudes, or the pain in our voice, and for some the pain becomes so great they choose whatever minding numbing means possible to stop their reappearance like alcohol and drugs.
The removal of these memories is virtually impossible but coming to understand, accept and place them in proper perspective is. In Catholism there is a ceremony on Good Friday prior to the Stations of the Cross called the Healing of Memories. There the believer walks up to the front of the church and receives a blessing and prayer for relief from their painful memories. In another ceremony used by counselors and the 12 Step organizations like AA, NA and GA the painful memories are written on a piece of paper, in a letter to the one that left the memory or to the one that person hurt. The letter or paper is than burned out in the open air allows the memories to given to God and the ashes to the earth. Both forms are a baptism of and lifting up of the soul in act of forgiving and repentance. There are many other forms of help through counseling and support groups.
For the majority most memories are not painful or ones that need healing, but are memory pages filled with pictures of family, friends and joyous moments in their book of life. These are the memories we seek for ourselves as well as seek to give to others.
We are all memory makers, we add daily to the scrapbooks of those to whom we come in contact with from family members to the young man at the grocery store. It is up to us to consciously be aware of the memories we are adding to another’s book as well as our own. For if the day comes when someone is looking for a friendship to add to their collection, would we not want that someone to say, “I could not resist you, my friend, you were just there dripping with (happy) memories.”