Remembering is powerful.
As I recounted our recent family trip to my mother on the phone yesterday, we soon slipped into 'do you remember when' speak. It began with a simple memory of how ice cream cones punctuated our family vacations. I became aware of this memory when last week I was the one obsessed with finding a good ice cream for my family of six. I guess we carry certain traditions or patterns from generation to generation without even thinking about it.
As my mother comes closer to the end of life, we spend more of our phone conversations remembering. I can say lots about the practice of remembering, especially when we remember all that is good--it is healing, it is reassuring, it is comforting, it is meaning-making--but I keep coming back to the connection between remembering shared experiences and the feeling of connection that arises when we remember with another. Something wonderfully magical happens when we remember together.
Perhaps remembering is powerful because it is an opportunity for us to re-member ourselves. We get to realign ourselves with what is really important. It gives us the chance to align ourselves with those we love. Re-membering calls us into the great circle of humanity, inviting us to be a full member of life. Somehow the process of remembering with my mother creates a shift in me (and perhaps in her) where we begin to gather up in us all that is human so that we can see and believe that somewhere within is the holy.
"All this remembering," my mother said, "makes my heart sing."