I believe in memory. I believe in the healing and joy it can bring. I believe in the knowledge and experience it can grant. I believe in memory because it can remind me of the success and the pain, the risk and reward, and the pure bliss my life has brought me. Because sometimes I find that I forget what it took to get me where I am.
I believe in memory because I find it beautiful how I never realize the significance of an event when it is happening, only later to smile in my self-reflection. Like the first time I ever played my father’s thirty eight year old acoustic guitar, with chipped paint and rusty strings. The smallest details of my life linger in my mind years later. Like the first time I ever saw the ocean, and how the waves gracefully crashed into my feet.
I believe in memory because I’ve had the greatest of times that I could never forget. I remember things I used to do like find the biggest rock on the shore of Lake Superior so I could watch the thousand foot ships come under the lift bridge. I remember specific events like the adrenaline pumping through my veins as I stepped on the stage with my guitar and could vaguely see the thirteen hundred people staring back at me through the lights.
I believe in memory because it can remind me of the things I’ve lost that I can’t replace and the joy they gave me. Like my grandfather and the way he laughed every time he saw how low my pants were hanging. And the home cooked dinners my family use to eat back when life was a little less stressful.
I believe in memory because it allows me to remember some of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. Like how the landscape of the Badlands just opened up before my eyes and suddenly one step over a rock was a two hundred foot drop. And the view from the top of that mountain in Colorado, with perfect rays of sunshine sneaking through the clouds to expertly light the calm rivers and trees below. It was the most peaceful thing I have ever laid eyes on. And the first time I saw the New York skyline at night from across the water, I learned that you can find beauty in man’s creations also.
I believe in memory because it reminds me of the love I’ve always had from the people around me. Like the two brother youth ministers from my church, who have always seen past my adolescences and into my maturity. And my closest friends, who have always made me laugh through the hardest times and how we could waste away an hour or two doing nothing but talking in a basement somewhere.
Now, obviously, I don’t know when I’ll die. Today, tomorrow, next week, seventy years from now, whenever, it doesn’t really matter. The inevitability and surprise of it all only makes my time on this earth sweeter. Every minute of every moment in this life is made more beautiful because I know I will not be around forever to enjoy it.
I believe in memory because as long as I can still smile when thinking of at least some of my life, I can’t regret the way it turned out. This will always be enough for me. I will continue living with the intent of happiness and hopefully let more memories blossom along the way. So that, at the end of it all, I can sit down and watch the sun set with my memories to keep me company, whenever that day may be.
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