I was watching photos with my children some times ago, remembering events, places and people shown in the pictures when one of my daughters said: “it is time to create new memories now! Let’s play ligretto!”
Remembering is a delightful moment. It recalls to life joyful or sad events, it raises awareness, it brings the past alive into the present.
Creating memories leans on the opposite direction, toward the future, it feeds enthusiasm and joy for life. And often it doesn’t take much care of the past…
When remembering takes over, we might fall into a melancholic mood or paralysis. When creating moves forward without awareness, it might draw a blind, confusing trajectory that might end to a good end and might be back to the beginning… We should find a balance between these two polarities, we should try to find the centre between two eyes.
One of the most important qualities of remembering is that we can see what is significant of the past: remembering usually helps to discover what was meaningful in our experience and gives us peace and delight while looking into those significant details: they mean nothing to others but full of life for the one remembering..
Awareness, peace, confidence on the side of remembering. Enthusiasm, joy, energy on the side of creating new memories.
A few weeks ago I came across a documentary and its scripts that I watched about twenty years ago by now… (mamma mia!)
It is “The Last Days” by Steven Spielberg which you can find on the internet. Some opponents of this movie argue that there are contradictions and unrealistic witnesses but it is not my intention to counter-argue about this. Should you be interested with the topic, you may search further as there is a large public documentation about pros and cons of this documentary which I liked very much.
I want only to quote the following memory from Renee, one of the people interviewed by Spielberg, and consider the content of her remembrance when the Jewish people were ordered to move away from their homes:
“When we were packing, I wanted to take something that would remind me of the good times. I was very depressed and worried. And so I came across a bathing suit... a bathing suit that my father brought me… It had a shiny satin finish and a print of multicoloured flowers. In the afternoon when I heard the soldiers’ boots coming up the stairs, I ran back and I put this bathing suit under my dress. And that’s how I left….
…. And I remember I got undressed with the rest of them [when they arrived to the check point], and there I was in the bathing suit, standing in the bathing suit. I had a premonition. I had this feeling that if I take this bathing suit off, if I leave this bathing suit behind, all the wonderful memories that were built in this bathing suit… I kept remembering how I wore there on the swimming pool, and how the boys were whistling at me and my friends were so jealous. And now I’m going to take it off and I’m going to leave it here. Everything that meant anything in life to me, I’m going to leave behind….”
This short story shows how the submission of a human being is carried out even before something very tragic and visible appears; how removing memories of another person means to ignore her dignity and take away what is meaningful for her, for her feelings, for her personal history.
Should we not develop a sensibility for these elements, we would live beside each other with no understanding of one other. Nothing news under the sun: this would be if we are stuck with the ways of working of the past.
Someone might say: but that was a terrible circumstance, it doesn’t happen anymore. And the details you are picking up might be important for her, but certainly nothing compared to the ginormous tragedy that occurred in that time to many people. And nowadays in various parts of the world!
I would reply: maybe. Be aware that the roots of the bad events might hide into details. Those roots might be fed by such small tiny details. This applies not only to the history, it applies to our daily life, it happens in our western world as well as everywhere else.
The observation of the past should help us raise awareness that stands as a guidance for our present choices and behaviours.
Bringing our dreams into the future should include the awareness acquired by developing knowledge and sensibility for “how” we proceed, taking care that “wonderful memories” are not taken off anyone like the significant bathing suit.
If we do this, we build the ground for a real new social life. If not, we might be careful to our favourite people as it has always been but not really caring for our “neighbour” like the Samaritan did: what do you think?
Today let me dedicate the song “From A Distance” by Nanci Griffith to all our distant “neighbours“.