Writing about this phrase can be caught up with a lot of psychological and philsophical concepts that I am at present time ill equipped to write about. I was introduced to this phrase as a hospital chaplain through my friend and fellow chaplain Tyler. It became an important point of reflection when listening to people’s stories. To listen and hold someone’s stories as a chaplain requires 2 things, suspension of judgment and unconditional positive regard so that we do not demonize or intrude on the person in front of us.

In some ways it is easier to do this with a stranger you are serving, than someone who you have a deep connection with. Another way of thinking about this is, it sometimes is easier to believe the stories or perspectivce of someone you don’t know than someone you are deeply enmeshed with. It is also easier to hear these stories without feeling like you are slighted or deeply affected by this persons perspective.

It would do me well, all of us well, to also treat the ones we love with unconditional positive regard and tenderness and patience. I am often in need of adapting this posture, that came easily for me as chaplain and employ it in my current work and relationships because of how valuable these relationships are.

What does this exactly have to do with memory?

I think it has to do with what we choose to focus on that ends up being stored in the bank of our memory. I was recently listening to my favorite podcast, Heavyweight. The episode was about someone who received a letter from someone claiming to be her childhood best friend having the almost exact same name, and she had no recollection of this person at all as an adult.

Richard Van De Water’s grilled cheese he made me. I remember it as extremely delicious

The story briefly explored this idea of how one person could vividly remember aspects of a childhood with a best friend and how another person could remember nothing of the relationship. And where they arrived was, that we remember what is most important to us in a moment or season of life and choose to forget the less urgent matters as a means to cope or survive.

Sometimes trauma effects our memory.

Sometimes things are going so well that we have the emotional capital to log good memories with relative ease.

There is also one more fascinating phenomeon. I think we can actively choose to remember certain things. I think when we choose to access our memory, reflect on our pasts, we actually will remember more. But do we remember rightly? Or is everything we remember slightly exagerrated? Do we remember things how we want them to be or how they are?

Or as the phrase “memory is mythology” suggests, do we simply remember in such a way that help us to write a collective story and tradition that help us live meaningfully? I think I’ve left you with more questions than answers and I think that is okay. Until next time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s