Remember that incredible song sung by Barbra Streisand? It’s truly one of my favorites.
The lyrics go like this:
Light the corners of my mind,
Misty water-colored memories of the way we were.
Scattered pictures, of the smiles we left behind…smiles we gave to one another, for the way we were.
Can it be that it was all so simple then? Or has time rewritten every line?
If we had the chance to do it all again, tell me, would we? Could we?
Mem’ries, may be beautiful and yet, what’s too painful to remember, we simply choose to forget.
So, it’s the laughter we will remember, whenever we remember….
The way we were… the way we were.
So, why this song at this time? Well, there are so many life events happening in my life and in the lives of those I love dearly this year, that reflecting on memories is a natural unfolding.
This year alone, I have my very best friend, Sr. Stephanie, celebrating 60 years of Vowed Religious life over the next two weeks. She and I have been doing a lot of memory walks, talking about the life she has lived, the children and people we have served, why she chose to become a Religious Sister, etc.
I have a mother celebrating her 85th birthday, a father celebrating his 90th and a stepmom celebrating her 85th. And this past weekend, I had another grand nephew born.
And if that were not enough, there are lots of memories creeping into my consciousness of experiences I’ve had while on Mission trips over the past 20 years, feeling great joy, great pain and deep sadness that we cannot be on a Mission trip right now, as we would usually be. Nostalgic? Yes.
Wishful and misty eyed? Yes.
Good friends and colleagues have shared how their grandchildren are moving away to begin training, new jobs, new lives. Others are mourning the loss of loved ones. Other dear friends are caring for a friend whose health is severely compromised by Parkinsons, even as we recall how vibrant she was in her earlier years and how gentle she is even in the midst of her present struggles. I have family members and friends, watching their children grow, but some struggling with drug abuse or loss of jobs or relationships, etc.
My list is long…and I am absolutely certain yours is too. Perhaps take a moment or two to let yourself truly feel and reflect on the life events unfolding for you.
Rumi says it this way: “Close both eyes to see with the other eye”. What is your “other eye”? Is it memory? Is it the eye of one’s heart? Is it your spirit breath? Is it your inner being or core?
In some ways, all these are ways of trying to explain the unique human aspect of memory with feeling, of pausing to let the memories surface to the top or letting you catch your breath and reflect on meaningful life events.
These human experiences are so important but we sometimes try to forget because the memories are painful or make us sad or leave us empty. At times, even laughter makes us cry because the laughter is connected to a memory. At other times, our spirits are lifted as we recall memories of special events, people who’ve inspired and befriended us and people we served or worked with and all the goodness that gave life to others.
Whether our “mem’ries” evoke joy, pain, sadness, laughter, longing or all of the above, they are a part of the “way we were” and they are a part of the “way we are”.
So, truly take a few moments and “close both eyes to see with the other eye”. Catch your breath and let your spirit breath renew you, comfort you and refresh you. Opportunities to reflect don’t happen often enough in our busy lives, so take a few moments, let the “mem’ries” enfold you while you see with your other eye, with your heart breath, with your inner consciousness!
And always live and breathe HOPE today and every day!
Sr. Debbie Blow, OP