Friday, July 17, 2009

Memory serves me right.

“You never know when you're making a memory.”

~Rickie Lee Jones

That might be one of the more meaningful quotations I have ever come across.

It is scary to consider this. It truly, at least for me, brings home the importance of our actions.

We have our version of memory, but so does everyone else. Their versions may be different from ours, but we have no way to know. Of course we are not in control of how they decide to remember something, but we do have some control over how we handle every situation.

I have gone through my life making memories, impressions, with, for, and about other people. Things I have done and said are indelibly etched into the pages of countless others' life stories. For better or worse, I make memories whether I realize it or not. And that is startling. What stupid, mean, dumb-ass things have I said or done in my life that are now the way I am remembered?

It seems to be a bit like politicians speaking to the press. It might be helpful to myself to be reminded that all of this is going on the record. Honesty is always good policy; regardless of how you may be persecuted for being honest, one thing that memory will never accuse you of is falsehood. And that is powerful in itself.

Intentions are one thing, but being true to yourself, first, is probably the most difficult thing we can strive for. Ego is the biggest wall we as humans must hurdle before we can truly be happy in our own skins and truly approach each and every situation Honestly.

Do we really ever attain this? He who does is truly the champion of us all, for they have little or no fear.

At the instant they happen, memories may not be wonderful. Technically they are memories as soon as they occur, though the information we obtain and life we experience once the memory is sketched alter our perception. It is only through the lens of time and retrospection that we can see the value in them. Good and bad alike. We continually re-use our canvas of memory to paint and re-paint our vision of the past.

For now, I have memories of Grandpa Dick. I try to be objective and realize that I can cherish this stack of memories for what they are. Imperfect, of course, but they are mine forever. He was not a perfect person, and for much of my life my memory of him was one of fear. But that changed as he changed, and I believe the combination makes him even more remarkable in my mind.

I wonder how he remembered me.


mossygirl said...

Being true to yourself, being honest, being yourself...

...who am i?

They're so interrelated--there are times I can't figure out what I think enough to know how to be true to myself, so torn apart by differing perspectives, differing courses of action that to pick one, the most honest one, renders itself impossible, and I resort to just picking.

I think Grandpa Dick must have remembered you as really someone special. He picked you to give the Porsche to, and once he did, seeing how excited he was about it, about talking to you about it (aside from other things that would lead me to this conclusion), really shows how meaningful a choice that was.

That car was special to him--he cared that it was given to someone who would appreciate it like he did.

Is there a bigger compliment one historically stubborn old grandpa could give someone?

S. Moss said...

You go through the days of your life, marking the passage of certain segments with retrospection; and the hope is that the effervescence of these different periods will all collectively surface again and again, keeping them clear and colorful.
As did your time spent with your Grandpa. His memory, right up to the end, was sharp. And his memories of you bubbled to the surface constantly, bringing me to tears as he spoke of you.
You need not wonder how your Grandpa would have remembered you, Aaron. I can speak for him, because I know of the utter respect, and great admiration he carried for you.
He was always true to himself, and I believe he saw that quality in you...
As do I.