Whoosh! Each new pivotal event in our lives starts slowly and ends with a bang—like a roll of toilet paper—the closer we get to the end, the faster it goes and the more panicky we get. First grade, second grade, third grade…suddenly gone, vanished. Seventh grade, ninth grade, senior…was that me? How much longer until I graduate? Holding on for dear life, terrified and concerned, uncertain about the future and what might be at the end, we firmly grasp the zip-line handle and fly down the mountain. Trees go whizzing by on every side. With our eyes partially closed, we view the world with tunnel vision; our life is a blur as we fly over rivers and rocks, canyons and glades. Focused solely on endings, goals and arrivals; there is no time to look behind us to see where we came from or where we have been. Memories are fleeting. We live in the present. The past is quickly forgotten.
Most of us have good memories, but our brains are like old computers with very slow recall; sometimes we even suffer a total loss of memory when our hard drive crashes. Who was that cute boy in fifth grade that moved away? What did I wear to the high school prom? Remember the summer of 2010, the school play, the day in the park, that warm summer night, riding bikes, my favorite song, crazy Charlie, the dance? Mementos, souvenirs and postcards help to rekindle sentimental memories of special events and people. Photos, memorabilia, ticket stubs and diaries offer proof of the past. The sharing of stories with others about the significant events in our lives, and how we felt about them then and now, rekindles our spirit and preserves our memories in the minds of others.
By living only in the present, without an accurate record of the past, or a plan for the future, many adoptees simply float on air. But, what if you had a photographic memory and you could recall everything that ever happened to you? Would you chose to slow the world down for just a moment, reflect on the past, look for transparency, seek the truth, and offer forgiveness? Would you offer a blessing for the few things that actually went right in your life—a remembrance of the unique people and experiences you are truly thankful for? We all have a free will and the right to choose. If you had the choice, how long would you postpone this experience? Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all pause for a quiet moment, reflect on the past, think about our ancestors and significant others, and offer a special thank you to our mentors, coaches, teachers, peers, family members and everyone else who has had a positive influence in our lives?
“I think about my grandmother as I wander through the cemetery of life searching for her grave. She is a person of significant importance to me that I never knew. I never even knew her name until recently because I was adopted. I am taking this moment to pause and quietly thank her for giving me the matriarchal gift of life. Thank you grandma. May you rest in peace.” Judith Land