Precious Memories

Precious memories, how they linger, How they ever flood my soul
In the stillness of the midnight, Precious, sacred scenes unfold.

memories— as sung by Willie Nelson

Recently my friend Alice Deakins gave me the inspirational book The Memory Chalet written by the well-known author Tony Judt as he suffered and eventually died from Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS). In his book he wrote that during the early part of the disease, he felt a “desperate need for the reassurance of light, company, and the simple comforts of human intercourse.” But later he “learned to forgo this, finding solace and recourse in my own thoughts.” He went on to say, “My solution has been to scroll through my life, my thoughts, my fantasies, my memories. . . . If you must suffer thus, better have a well-stocked head.”

Last week, as my caregiver Marc Dacuycuy and I were listening to Willie Nelson sing “Precious Memories,” it made me think about Judt’s words, how memories can be very meaningful or precious to us and can be part of our “well-stocked head.” I began to ponder what makes them precious for us, why they can become such an important part of who we are, and why we want to share them with people who are significant to us.

So I started asking people those questions. Several people told me that they would go into a burning building to retrieve items such as photos that might be irreplaceable, family heirlooms, their parents’ wedding rings – things that were part of their precious memories. It may seem surprising that people are willing to risk their lives in order to rescue something that likely has little or no monetary worth but is precious to them because of its emotional or spiritual value.

For example, why do we like our favorite song? Does it have great lyrics, an appealing tune, is it sung by our favorite singer? Or is the song a reminder of a special person, a place, or a time in our life that is significant for us? Perhaps it serves as a kind of emotional spark, a memory about someone or something that changed the course of our life. Perhaps it was a time that we shared with a special person that we love and hold dear.

Those memories that speak to our souls bring back remembrances of events and people who helped to mold us into who we are today. They are at the core of our being, our emotional center. We do not want to lose those emotional inspirations. Memories are how we keep alive those people and events that have been significant to us, the ones that help to make us unique in the world. So lost friends and loved ones will remain a part of our existence as long as they endure in our memories.

I believe Willie Nelson has it right when he sings: “Old home scenes of my childhood, In fond memory appear. . . . As I travel on life’s pathway, Know not what the years may hold. As I ponder, hope grows fonder. Precious memories flood my soul.” No one ever truly leaves us until they are lost from our memories. Maybe that is why memories are so precious.

* Do you have memories that are precious to you and help to keep your soul alive?

* Do you allow hope to grow as precious memories flood your soul and linger in you?

Beloved Giver of Precious Memories, thank you for those special people and events that have touched us, molded us into the people we are today. Help us to learn to appreciate them and put them in a corner of our heart and in our “well-stocked head.” May we keep your love for us as one of our most precious memories. Amen.

Joy Carol

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3 Responses to Precious Memories

  1. K'Anne says:

    Thank you, Joy. A beautiful song, one of my favorites (and on my album) and a beautiful reflection. Timely, as well. Naomi has come from surgery out at UCSF Babies Hospital, where she has been treated for twin to twin transfusion syndrome. She has lost one of the twins (the donor, or sacrificial lamb of the two developing fetuses) to the other twin (the receiver). We are filled with sorrow, yet hopeful, at the poignant paradox of this serious complication of nature; that one will survive by the loss of the other. Please keep us in prayer.
    The many hymns of my youth and faith journey, always seem to surface when when it’s healing message is needed. K’Anne

  2. Nancy Loorie says:

    Looking forward to further stocking my head with memories when we gather for the wedding in Woodstock next week. Can’t wait to meet you in the flesh, which I truly hope is healing a little every day. Thanks for sharing your capacious soul so very generously. Your future friend, Nancy.

  3. Mary Pat Flaherty says:

    I just wanted to say that I will be wishing you well on the first of December.Love Mary Pat

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