Wednesday, September 9, 2009
In need of rose colored lenses
The Chartres style labyrinth, a walking meditation, at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.
Some people romanticize the past. When they think think back on their lives, what they remember are "the good old days."
I think my memory lens must be faulty because what I remember about my past is usually about suffering or discomfort, unhappiness, awkwardness. It's not like I never remember the good times. More often, though, it's my tendency to remember what went wrong. Weird, isn't it?
The recent string of connections with people I haven't seen in ages is showing me, in no uncertain terms, that my sense of who I used to be, and what my life has been about, is seriously distorted. All my old friends in Tahoe and San Francisco reminded me how much fun I had in both of those locations. Why did I forget these wonderful memories? What is up with THAT??
Yesterday my great gift was a sit-down with an old friend from high school, someone I reconnected with through Facebook. We haven't seen each other in thirty-eight years, can you imagine? We meant to meet for an hour but that hour stretched out to three because we could not stop telling stories, asking questions, laughing. It was so much fun!
One of the greatest gifts of our reunion was when he told me stories about my father. I didn't remember - but he did! - sitting in my living room, being grilled by my father about Vietnam. It made him realize, he said, that if he was going to take a position on an issue, he had to do some research and fact checking first. That event had a huge impact on him, one that still resonates today. Wow.
I thought I had heard every story about my father there was to tell. He died in 1978, after all. Listening to my old friend's observations brought my father back into high def in my heart and mind. Who knew an old, long-lost friend held yet another piece of the memory of my father? It was genuinely miraculous.
I need to stir some fun, joyful, creative and positive stories back into the bitter mix of my memories. My memory pool seriously needs sweetening. As it turns out, my life has not been one long tragedy after all. Wow.
What is remembered, lives. Oh yeah!