ON REMEMBERING AND REMINDING

Three elderly friends,  while playing bridge, were also discussing the travails of getting older.

One said, “Sometimes I catch myself with a jar of mayonnaise in my hand in front of the refrigerator and can’t remember whether I need to put it away, or start making a sandwich.”

Another agreed, saying he often paused, befuddled, on the stairway landing, unsure of whether he was going up or down.

The third, a recent widower, played a card as he responded,  “Well, I’m glad I don’t have that problem; knock on wood,” as he rapped his knuckles on the table, then told them “Oh, that must be the door, I’ll get it!”

Source: Unknown

CONSIDER THIS

“Well, we all forget things. That’s what reminding is for.” (Words spoken by the controlling Martin Burney character played by Patrick Bergen in the 1991 drama/thriller Sleeping with the Enemy.)

  • What do you need to forget?
  • What do you need to remember?
  • What would you like to be reminded of?

MEMENTO

Once, someone requested of Mulla Nasrudin: “Give me your ring as a memento, so that whenever I look at it I will remember you.”

Mulla replied: “You cannot have the ring. But whenever you want to remember me, just look at your finger and remember that I did not give you the ring!”

Source: Houman Farzad
Classic Tales of Mulla Nasreddin
Mazda Pub, 2015

CONSIDER THIS

What do you think is needed, if anything at all, to remember your connections, your relationships, your friendships?

I thank my God every time I remember you,  constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you …” Philippians 1:3-4

REMEMBERING THE GIFT OF WINGS

There was a bird who loved to fly. One day, while it was high up in the air it began to rain. Its feathers became so heavy that when it tried to land, it broke its wing. Time passed, and the bird became better. It wanted to fly, but no matter how hard it tried, something inside stopped it from leaving the ground.

Day after day it tried, and day after day fear held it down. Then one day, a strong wind came and lifted it high into the sky. It opened its wings and the bird remembered as if for the very first time, that it could fly.

Source | Based on a story told in the film “Shadows in the Sun”

CONSIDER THIS

When you think that something is impossible, stop, relax, unwind, step back and slow down a bit … stop long enough to remember.

 

I DISTINCTLY REMEMBER FORGETTING IT

When the Master was a boy at school, a classmate treated him with persistent cruelty.

Now, older and contrite, he came to the monastery and was received with open arms.

One day he brought up the subject of his former cruelty, but the Master seemed not to recall it.

Said the visitor, “Don’t you remember?”

Said the Master, “I distinctly remember forgetting it!” so they both melted innocent laughter.

Source | Anthony de Mello SJ
Awakening: Conversations with the Masters
(Image, 2003) # 66

CONSIDER THIS

What do you distinctly remember forgetting, thus making space for deeper and more authentic connections and relationships?

WHERE AM I

There’s an old story told by Reb Chanoch Henich of Alexander.

There was once a fellow who was so very forgetful. Indeed, his memory was so short that when he awoke each morning, he could not remember where he had laid his clothes the night before. Things got so bad for him that he could not fall asleep, so great was his nervousness about finding his things upon waking. One evening, however, he hit on a great idea.Taking a pencil and paper, he wrote down exactly where he had placed each item of clothing. Placing his notes on the nightstand, by his bed, he quickly feel asleep, confident that he would find everything just perfectly in the morning.

And indeed he did. He woke up, took the notes form this nightstand, and read off each item in turn: pants—on chair back; and there they were. He put them on. ‘Shirt—on bed post; and there it was. He put it on. Hat—on desk; and there it sat. He placed it on his head. In a few minutes the fellow was completely dressed. But suddenly a great dread came upon him.

‘Yes, yes,’ he said aloud. ‘Here are my pants, my shirt, and my cap; but where am I?’ He looked and looked and looked, but he could find himself nowhere! Reb Chanoch Henich paused for a moment and then concluded ‘And that is how it is with each of us as well.”

Source | Rabbi Rami Shapiro, Hasidic Tales
(Skylight Paths, 2004) page 191

PONDER AND CONSIDER

What is this story getting at? Think about it: where am I? Where are you, indeed? I’m standing here! And you’re sitting in this chair, of course! It’s obvious, isn’t it? Or is it really that obvious? At some point, especially if I keep droning on, you may look at your watch and say ‘What time is it? When does this end, anyway? I wonder what there will be to eat when this is over?’ If you can catch yourself at that very moment, then where are you? Are you really still here? Or have you actually gotten lost in time? I don’t mean time-travelling, I mean: have you suddenly looked at your watch and mentally left this moment in favor of some other, future moment?

Similarly, you could be sitting here listening to me, and suddenly you remember that you forgot to return an important email from yesterday, or you remember a fight you had with a family member last week, and you’re feeling bad about it. Again, are you really here, or are you now lost in the past? In either case, have you actually left the chair? Physically, of course not. But in every other sense—you have left this place. You’re gone. You’re missing this moment, the only moment that’s really happening!