SHARING and CARING…it’s what LIFE is all about!

Today is Tomorrow’s Yesterday

Posted by on Nov 30, 2013 in Blog, Food for Thought, Memories | 4 comments

The future is yours to make; the past is full of memories carved in stone. Somewhat paraphrased, I heard this statement recently and it struck a chord. Maybe it’s because I recently conducted a memoir workshop and watched people enthusiastically share their memories, uninhibited by embarrassment or their limited writing skills. Kudos to them!

Our lives are, indeed, packed full of memories, permanently set in our past, irrevocably carved in stone. Some memories are warm and fuzzy and leave us smiling for no apparent reason—at least to an onlooker. Others may leave us in tears, sometimes from happiness, quite possibly from sorrow. Memories are funny that way,  their affect on us is unpredictable. They will surface when we least expect them, flash through our minds “faster than a speeding bullet,” and leave us asking, “Where did that come from?” Or they will hover for long moments, creating visions clearer than a starry summer sky and have an affect on us that leaves us powerless to explain. A book, a movie, a passing cyclist, even an animal—I’m partial to dogs—can trigger a memory that takes us down the proverbial lane.

Music does that to me. I’m a real romantic when it comes to certain songs that open the door of my distant past. I’m lost in wondering where I was, who I was with and what I was doing. The number of songs is countless and I would fail miserably if I tried to share my favourites. But I will share this: the last several weeks I have been downloading my record albums onto my computer. My first pick was the one that put me to sleep every night when I realized that I was in love and would one day marry Doug. Over and over, Nat King Cole crooned his love songs into my semiconscious mind and they became “carved in stone.” Whenever I hear them, I float back in time to when I was seventeen and desperately in love! Memories do that!!

Bill Strange and Scott Davis wrote the words and music to Memories, a song sung by many, including Elvis Presley and Barbra Streisand.

Memories, pressed between the pages of my mind
Memories, sweetened thru the ages just like wine

Quiet thoughts come floating down
And settle softly to the ground
Like golden autumn leaves around my feet
I touched them and they burst apart with sweet memories

Sweet memories…

How beautiful is that!

But unfortunately, the concept of sweet memories is marred by the world of make-believe. Many movies circulate the TV channels—possibly having been in the theatres—about a person who is living a life—in his or her estimation—that is full and complete. In each story, the plot is consistent: an unsolicited opportunity to see what life would have been like had the individual made a choice other than what was made. From the syndicated TV program, Twice in a Lifetime  with Al Waxman as Judge Othniel to The Family Man with Nicholas Cage, individuals have been allowed a second chance to live life less focused on themselves and more on others…an opportunity to re-carve the stone, as it were.

One such movie from Hallmark is A Family Thanksgiving (2010). The plot focuses on a woman believing that her life is perfect and complete with no time for a family—the least of which includes being a homemaker—or family gatherings. She’s a happy, single successful woman until she innocently makes a comment to the wrong person at the wrong time: “What on earth could I possibly need?” And BINGO! Her life is flipped upside down and she discovers rather painfully the error of her ways and yearns for what is impossible to have.

Oh, but wait a minute! She CAN have it all because it’s not real life…it’s Hollywood…or as a good friend recently called it, “Hollow Wood.” She meets Mr. Perfect and a budding romance is in the future, along with the 2 children she met during her ‘second time around.’ Innocent enough, for sure, and with a happy ending, but all in the world of movies and TV.

In the real world, there is no return from heaven or changing our lives through the wink of an eye or the wave of a hand. Yesterdays are permanently set in the archives of our lives, like a tattoo burned in our skin. I used to say to my kids as they were growing up that, unlike man-made computers, the God-made computer nestled in our skull, called our brain, doesn’t have a delete button. What is said, thought or done is there forever, and there’s nothing that can be pressed to undo an action, word or deed. Naturally, there are times when apologies are offered, forgiveness is extended, the pain is forgotten and life goes on. But the memory will always be there; we are human.

There’s no second chance to redo, relive or recreate a situation. It’s carved in stone.

But our todays? That’s another story. They are for the making. When we pick up the invisible chisel of words, thoughts and deeds and start chipping away, we carve memories into our lives. And when all is said and done, we may be left pondering the result, asking ourselves, “When I look back at the end of a day, will I have doubts or will I want to polish the rock and be content, with no regrets ?”




Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Heather

    Christmas evokes many memories. Perfect timing, Ruth. Beautiful and well written.

    • Ruth Waring

      Thanks, Heather. Glad your comment came through. For some reason it went to spam! I deleted the others, no problem there. I wish you had shared all that you put in your email. It was beautiful. Glad my writing stirred up such sweet memories. Blessings.

  2. Doug Waring

    Nat ‘the’ King Cole was our favourite. Maybe Elvis, too! We have 54 years of memories if you go all the way back to high school days, and I wouldn’t change them for anything! Love you!

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