Take the time to remember at Christmas…

December 17, 2018

This quote from a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog started me thinking this morning about Christmases past – “Time moves in one direction, memory in another.”  (William Gibson)

In today’s hustle and bustle world, time seems to go by very fast. Holiday’s, even Christmas can speed up on us and, before we know it, they are in the past. As we decorate our tree each year we come upon two ornaments that take us back in time – ornaments that contain birth pictures of the first child of each of our children; our first grandchildren. Both are in High School now and that seems impossible. Time has flown by.

Holiday’s like Christmas do provide vivid frames of reference for our memories. They were the times each year when we all gathered together with family and friends (if we could) to celebrate and catch up with each other’s lives. Some families have a tradition of doing a Christmas family photo as their Christmas card and that allowed us to see the growth and maturing of everyone in the family. Some even accompany that with a shortChristmas past 1 story about what they family did during the last year – accomplishments, vacations and changes. We filed those stories away along with the images on the cards.

I suppose that you might have thought my headline today had to do with remembering the reason for the season – the birth of Christ – and to an extent it does; however, the real underlying thought is to take time to wander back through your memories of Christmases past. Remember those who are no longer with us. Christmas was usually a happy time and the memories that you may have of them will likely be happy ones. Remember that places where you’ve lived and the things that you’ve done at Christmas, wherever you were. Let the images of your family, from the births of your children, through many happy Christmas mornings flood back into your mind and bring a smile to your face.

If you are blessed with a long memory, float back in time to your childhood and the excitement and wonder that you felt as a child when Santa came to your house, ate the Christmas past 2cookies that you put out for him and left presents under the tree for you. How far back can you remember? Wasn’t that a pleasant experience? Hopefully, those memories are not like a long, heavy chain that you drag behind you; but, rather, like a gentle wisp of perfume floating in the air for you to enjoy.

So, take some time this Christmas to pause and allow yourself to be transported back in time to Christmases past with friends and relatives who may no longer be here but who will live forever in our hearts. As Thomas Campbell put it – “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” Someday we will join them in other hearts and take our place in their Christmas memories. For now, let’s just enjoy our memories of all of the good people and things from Christmases past.

Have a great and memorable Holiday Season!

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Pause and imagine smelling the roses this December…

December 7, 2017

From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this thought –

“God gave us memories that we might have roses in December.”  (J.M. Barrie)

Our memories and our imaginations can provide wonderful relief from the dreary dayssmell lthe roses of winter to come; too remember roses in December; however, memory also serves to keep alive those who are no longer with us. As Thomas Campbell put it- “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”

Many people pause on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to remember those who are no longer with them’ perhaps because those times in the past were some of the happiest when they were still here. Perhaps those we remember are not departed, just distant. A quote by Washington Irving seems appropriate for that circumstance – “Sweet is the memory of distant friends! Like the mellow rays of the departing sun, it falls tenderly, yet sadly, on the heart.” 

So, pause this December and at Christmas, and remember the smell of roses and the wonderful times that you had with departed loved ones or those who are just far away. They live in your heart, so they will never die.


Remember; but, you can’t live in the past…

March 31, 2017

From a recent post on the Jack’s Winning Words blog – “Some days I wish I could go back in life, not to change anything, but to feel a few things twice.”  (Unknown).  Jack went on to say – “Thank God today for a mind that allows us to feel some things…twice.”  😉  Jack

In an earlier post, Jack had quoted Charlie Brown from a Peanuts cartoon that he remembered – “There are moments in life when you miss someone so much that you just want to pick them from your dreams and hug them for real.” 

 Often when someone is gone you hear people say (and I have said this to others myself) that, “They will live forever in your memories of them”.

 Quite often I’ll stumble upon a picture that I’ve used in a post here of someone who is now gone. Often those may have been people that I had no relationship with, but just remember seeing on television sometime in my past. Many are people who were long forgotten TV or boredmovie stars whose brief term of fame and glory happened well before most people living today were even born. Every day I’m reminded by pictures in my house of the key people who were in my life and who have passed away – parents and relatives. It is easy to pause and let a fond memory flood into my mind and that’s a good thing, but not something that I dwell on for too long. I take to heart a quote by Ken Kesey – “Loved. You can’t use it in the past tense. Death does not stop that love at all.” That is certainly true of those we have loved and continue to love who were a part of our lives.

Some have more trouble that others letting go of the past and that can negatively impact their lives in the present.  Jan Glidewell put it this way – “‎You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.” Many people who lose their life partner end up in that state, still clinging so tightly to their memories of a life together with that loved-one that they now cannot live a full life in the present. Others cherish the memories of their departed partner and go on to fulfilling lives, sometimes with new partners.

I like the very descriptive way that Jason Versey describes the state that one can get into when dog chasing tailthey cannot let go of the past – “Chasing your tale? Sometimes we relive past accomplishments, failures and or past relationships to the point of exhaustion. When we do this, I liken it to a dog chasing its tail, just spinning round and round and going nowhere fast. Constantly chasing our own tales has the same effect on us. It leaves us in a state of dizzying immobility. When we wrap our arms so firmly around our past we leave little room to embrace our present future and that, my friends, is a sad tale to tell.”

 So, we must let go of the past and get on with life. We may fondly (or maybe regretfully) revisit the past from time to time, but we cannot let it push aside the present or dictate the future.  In the words of Michelle Cruz-Rosado – “Letting yesterday affect today will only destroy the excitement of tomorrow.”

Sad or angry or regretful memories of events of our past can be especially debilitating, if you let them consume you. It is better to head the advice of Mandy Hale – “To get over the past, you first have to accept that the past is over. No matter how many times you revisit it, analyze it, regret it, or sweat it…it’s over. It can hurt you no more.” It’s not the past that crying-4hurts you, it’s the constant reliving of things that you cannot change and the tendency that we have as humans to beat ourselves up over those events or the decisions that we made at the time. It’s over! Learn from those mistakes and then let them go.

So, maybe the best way to deal with the past is to separate your memories into those that are fond and involve people or events that you love or that cause you to be happy when recalled; and, keep those that cause sadness or conjure up memories that are painful in a separate place, one that you seldom, if ever, have reason to visit.  You often hear the phrase “I’m going to my happy place”; well, maybe that is the place where you store all of those happy placehappy memories of people that you still love and who loved you and those events that brought you joy.

You can’t change the past, but you can control how and what you choose to remember about it. Choose to go to your happy place when you are revisiting your past. Have a great weekend and, if you must revisit the past, at least go to that happy place that is full of happy memories.


Hope leads to great memories…

September 3, 2014

A strange thing is memory, and hope; one looks backward, and the other forward; one is of today, the other of tomorrow.  Memory is history recorded in our brain, memory is a painter, it paints pictures of the past and of the day. – Grandma Moses

If, as Grandma Moses said, memory is a painter, recording pictures of our past, then hope is a dreamer, imagining exciting new paths for our future. Eventually memory will paint the picture of the path that we have chosen to take.

Hope enables us to look past the darkness of a gloomy or sad situation and see a rainbow on the horizon. I wrote about hope in an earlier post about the four candles – peace, faith love and hope. Hope was the last candle burning and as long as it was still alive the others could be relit. The YouTube video in that post is a good watch.

man daydreamingIf you start rummaging around through your memories you might recall some of the hopes that you had at the time when those pictures were painted. How did that work out? Which of your hopes and dreams did you pursue and did they come true? Sometimes an old hope or dream can rekindle a passion that you once had and lead you off into exciting new directions. Maybe you had to delay things for a while, but you don’t necessary have to abandon those dreams. Many times they are actually more reachable now than they might have been years ago.

My wife had a dream of finishing college (I interrupted her academic life with my proposal) and, after raising our two children, she finally went back to school and a couple of years later got to walk across the stage and accept her degree. She never gave up her hope to one day accomplish that goal and she did. She also rediscovered the joy of learning. Are there still unrealized hopes hanging around somewhere in your head women dreamingthat you still have time to pursue? What’s holding you back?

So, take a quiet moment sometime soon and revisit your old hopes and dreams. Some of them you may now realize just weren’t right for you; but many of them might just have been put on hold, due to life circumstances. Drag them out, dust them off and see if they still excite you. If they do, then go for it. Find the way to stick with them this time and make them come true. Then you’ll have some great memories to paint pictures of in your later years.

Have a great and hopeful day.