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

Lest We Forget

Posted by on Oct 28, 2014 in Blog, Food for Thought, Memories | 4 comments

During one of my Writing Our Yesterdays workshops earlier this month, I encouraged some new friends to begin the adventure of recording their memoirs. Although some were strangers to me and to each other, we shared a common interest: a desire to delve into the past. As I expected, there were moments when apprehension filtered throughout the room as each person dared to record moments that had been lost in time and had become a fleeting memory. Thus, it was important for me to motivate and encourage them as they learned how to begin. The morning included goals, informative quotes and suggestions, along with several five-minute writing exercises that stimulated their memories. My reward? Watching them discover the value of recording specific events in their lives.

As the morning unfolded, levity replaced apprehension when each person began to understand the thinking behind my humourous, yet repetitive, phrase, “You’re here to work. I’m here to have fun.” And work they did; but there was enough pleasure to be enjoyed by all.

One of my favourite quotes shared at the beginning and the end of each workshop is from John Piper, pastor, author and godly man: “Life is not a straight line leading from one blessing to the next and then finally to heaven. Life is a winding and troubled road! Obstacles, curves, dangerous cliffs and the unknown, along with multiple joys and pleasures greet us through life” (A Sweet and Bitter Providence). Sounds rather ominous, I’ll give you that, but because I believe this to be true, I feel it’s my responsibility to caution the attendees of my workshops that sometimes memories are painful and fall into the category of life being a “winding and troubled road.” And, again, it’s my responsibility to help them realize that sometimes those troublesome and often painful memories are best left in the past or perhaps dealt with at a later date when privacy is present and writing becomes therapeutic.

Even so, memoir writing can be exhilarating, and as I teach these workshops, past memories of my own surface and I feel a compelling urge to get them down on paper before they regress back into the dark recesses of my brain, soon to be forgotten

Elvis sings that memories are pressed between the pages of our minds. Quiet thoughts come floating down, And settle softly to the ground sounds wonderful…memories filled with laughter, pleasure and love. A beautiful picture if one can appreciate the artistic nature of the words. Yet, not always do they “settle softly to the ground.” There are things one would rather not remember, events one would give anything to change. I don’t think I’m wrong in thinking this. For me…for all of us…I believe life is full of choice and sometimes there are mistakes made and they become part of the “winding and troubled road.” The words Elvis sings are a reminder that everything is permanently “pressed between the pages” of our lives and nothing can erase them. There’s no delete button.

But there’s more to memories than quiet thoughts or regrets. There are memories forced upon us by the choices and actions of others, memories created that leave an indelible scare.

As taught in my workshops, memories do not exist only in the past, in decades ago. To paraphrase one author, Today’s moments very quickly become tomorrow’s memories and there could be no better example than the events of the past couple of weeks. Sobering and life-changing, they have created a dark cloud over our nation and have added to our storehouse—our nation’s storehouse—of memories.

As stated on the CBC website, An unforgettable week of tragedy, valour and tribute paid to the fallen. Senseless killings have indirectly become part of our lives, part of our nation’s history, part of our memories. The lives of two men, soldiers for our country, were violently snuffed out. Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, 53 and 24-year-old Corporal Nathan Cirillo have now become a memory embedded in the minds of all Canadians, never to be erased. I pray such is the case.

As our memories become pressed between the pages of our minds, we must never forget when tragedy strikes, whether on battlefields of long ago or on the military mission in Afghanistan, whether on a street in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec or in front of our National War Memorial in Ottawa.

God forgive us lest we forget!




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  1. Heather

    Amen. Outstanding, Ruth.

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