Posts Tagged With: remember

The Looking Back Game


Just a handful of my journals.

I play this game occasionally. It’s called, “What was I doing on this day x many years ago.”

I get out a few of my not too recent past journals and happy books and look up the month and day. Today I would look up October 12 in whatever year I held in my hands.

It’s a gambling game because the potential for happy memories is fairly high, but the risk that I’ll be reading about some low point is equally high. For that reason I have several years handy. If one years entry for that day is more than I want to delve into I can drop it like a hot potato and jump to the next entry quick and easy.

This morning I played the game with the idea that I’d find something muse-like to inspire me. Y’know, jog a great memory, remind me of a great day I could write about, or conjure people from my past. But like life tends to do, what I found instead wasn’t the thing I searched for.

Here’s a few things I found while playing this morning:

  1. I realized I have led a weird life that makes little sense to an outsider and even to an insider. 
  2. My experiences don’t fit in a box. I’m a rectangle peg in a round hole world.
  3. It’s a wonder I’m not completely nuts and committed and on heavy sedation.
  4. Forgetting is a healthy thing.
  5. Forgiving is even healthier than forgetting.
  6. There has to be a higher power operating in my life or I’d have never survived some of the roads I’ve taken.
  7. I’ve found beauty in the oddest of places and joy among ashes and destruction.
  8. I don’t see things the way most people do, which can fall on either side of the good/bad spectrum.
  9. I’m not always honest with myself even in my journals.
  10. The truth wins in staring contests every time.
  11. “Blessed” is too weak a word to describe my life so far.
  12. It’s a good thing I didn’t know about the obstacles in the road ahead.
  13. Looking back at those obstacles astounds and amazes me.
  14. I don’t want to have a clue about what’s still waiting for me up ahead.
photo-18 copy 12

A page from a Happy Book.

For these reasons and dozens more, I’m extremely glad I’ve written down some of the stuff of my life. A review of the past like today’s little game makes me more determined to journal about the real, the difficult, the conversations, the laughter, the frightening and especially the love.

I particularly don’t want to forget a single person who’s been part of my days and hours. I want word snapshots of each one of them that, like a key, will unlock our shared time together in faded, but still clear nuances of smiles or tears, gestures, a certain look, words shared and sweet kindnesses.

The hard times give contrast and shadow to the softer ones and make me cherish the now, whatever that might bring. Honestly, reading about some of those struggles makes me pray all the more that I don’t have to face anything like it again. I’m done with difficult. Although, I’m pretty sure difficult isn’t done with me.

In journal writing or happy book writing, it’s not the historical details but the emotions behind those facts that really matter. As much as I’d like to forget at times, I really, really want to remember, too.

I think I’ll be a little kinder to myself today. I think I’ve earned it.

That wasn’t such a fun game as I’d hoped.

Categories: Books, Memory Lane | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Watching as The World Folds in On Itself


Television (Photo credit: videocrab)

In 1989 we lived in the Seattle area in Washington state. MSH was working out-of-town in Oakland, California. He called me unexpectedly from his office phone.

“Turn on your TV.”

It was late afternoon, just after 5:00 actually.

I turned on the television and he said, “That’s me. That’s here. I’m under a table in an office building that’s swaying back and forth.”

It took a minute for me to understand what was going on. An earthquake in the Oakland area. A big one from the looks of things.

We didn’t talk for long. I hung on the TV for the rest of the night. Hungry for news, afraid of the news. Finally a phone call came through from MSH. The power was out in his hotel, but he was fine. He called from the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile  in front of his hotel. He chuckled.

What? I shook myself from the daze I’d fallen into.

All I cared about was that he was okay. Hearing his voice took the weight off my heart. I could breathe again.

English: Image taken by NOAA's Cessna Citation...

Ground Zero Image taken by NOAA’s Cessna Citation Jet on Sept. 23, 2001 from an altitude of 3,300 feet  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fast forward twelve years. MSH is working in the midwest. Iowa, although I don’t remember the city.

I was getting the kids ready for school and trying to get myself ready for work at the same time. The phone rang, far too early in the morning for an ordinary call.

It was MSH. “Turn on your TV!”

My stomach lurched.

Why? What?

“Just turn on your TV!!”

What I saw seemed unreal, nightmarish, horrifying. The kids stopped what they were doing and stood motionless, breathless,  staring at the screen. We watched, stunned,  as a towering building folded in on itself and disappeared and then another followed.

The world folded in on itself that morning. Lots of things folded under and changed with the horrific quaking that happened that early September morning. The world continues to crumple, morph and become unrecognizable.

I’m not sure I’ve caught my breath since then.

I’m not turning on the TV today.

I don’t want to remember.

But I will.

In my own quiet way.

Categories: The World | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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