Sunday, May 17, 2009

"that's not how i remember it . . . "

so today . . . i listened to lots of people telling stories. and refuting the stories that were being told about them. it was kind of interesting . . .

our memory is a funny thing. you know how they say if seven people see an accident, there will be seven completely different accounts of the incident? i now know it is true. i heard stories about my uncle during his memorial service today that i am sure were recounted accurately by the pastor--he told them the way they had been told to him. but then, after the service i heard slightly different versions of the story. and i am sure that each person's version is exactly the way they remember it happening. but there are slight differences, so they cannot all be totally true. yet in each person's mind, their version is what really happened, and everyone else's memory is faulty.

then later in the day i heard my mom telling a story about something diandra used to do when we would come to visit. i'm sure it is true, because her memory is really good, but i don't remember it happening. at all. either i have completely forgotten, or i wasn't there when it was happening. i don't know, but it is funny, because my first reaction was, "no, that's not what happened." why is that? why do i immediately assume that just because her recollection is different than mine, that mine is right and hers is wrong. the truth is, her memory is much better than mine. but my brain still wants to be right.

i have heard grown people arguing over their different memories of the same incident. and arguing and arguing. it makes me want to scream! first of all, do you really think that you are going to be able to convince someone else that their memory is wrong and yours is right? it will never happen. the best you can hope for is that the other person will finally admit, "well, maybe you COULD be right," while thinking, "what is the matter with you?!?! how can you not remember what happened?!?! you are so very, very wrong." and second, does it really matter? really? the things that people argue over are generally not vital one way or the other. and yet it seems to be so important to us that our version is accepted as the right one, that we will fight to the death over the details of an incident.

it doesn't matter. let it go, people. don't waste your time and energy over fighting over the details of distant memories. we all remember things through the filters of our past experiences, our feelings about the incident, and what is important to us. so just enjoy your memories and let others enjoy theirs. be the bigger person--let them think they are right. after all, YOU are the one who knows what REALLY happened . . .

1 comment:

Al said...

wow. what a coincedental blog. i've been trying to remind my wife what a spiritual pastor we used to have at our old church. and that i kept reminding her that he used to put an empty chair with us during our pre-marital counciling to represent that Jesus was with us. my wife has no recollection of that. and yesterday, i brought it up again, and she says, she remembers it now because i keep telling her it happened!