Wow…Yesterday…was quite a day. We moved Amy’s Grandmother from Weaverville to Canton…in the pouring rain. After packing the big truck, making the trip to the new house, unloading, getting the moving truck stuck in the mud, and finally pulling it out…we made our way home. I jumped in the shower and then into bed. As I took a deep relaxed breath, visions of my kids walking up the moving truck ramp in the hard rain carrying boxes containing anything from dishes to wooden doggie toilet paper holders flashed in my mind…and made me smile…and made me so proud of them. As I started to fall asleep, one more vision seeped into my mind. It was of Amy cleaning out one of her Grandmother’s closets. She was placing old newspapers and an old hat in a plastic bag so the rain wouldn’t touch them. I found out the newspapers were from when her Grandmother’s mother died and the hat was her Grandfather’s(he has passed away). Her Grandmother hadn’t thrown it away after all those years. With that vision, I was inspired to write this blog post.
Memory…is the diary that we all carry about with us. – Oscar Wilde
Last week my friend and client Beverly Burt came up to me before her session and said, “I have to show you something and tell you a quick story about it.” She pulled me to the side and held up an old ink pen. It was well used and had an old worn rubber band wrapped tightly around it. “I wanted to show you this. It was my dad’s pen. I keep it in my purse.” she said. She was using it that day to write her exercises/weight/reps for the session in her training book. “What’s the rubber band for?” I asked. “He kept this pen with him everywhere he went. The rubber band kept it from falling out of his pocket. I just like to have it close to me because it was his.” she answered. For those of you who don’t know, Beverly’s father passed away a few years ago.
“Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.”
When I think about Beverly, Amy’s Grandmother, the newspapers, the hat, and the pen…a valuable message comes to mind : Do whatever you can to never forget what you love. Whether the love has passed or is still with you…be aware, soak up, treasure, and capture every moment you can because it all moves so fast. And…if it helps to hold onto something that refreshes your mind, lifts your spirit, and rejuvenates your soul…HOLD ONTO IT. You probably already do this…if not now, I guarantee you did at one time right? You know…that shell from a beach trip, a movie ticket from a date or family night out, a coin, jewelry, concert ticket stub, hair from a first haircut, a rock from a hiking trip, a report card, a hospital bracelet, artwork, a note, a bible, dishes, and of course pictures. It doesn’t matter if it makes sense to anyone else. You hold onto it…because as the above quote says…you don’t want to ever lose the things you love…the things you are…and sometimes a newspaper, a pen with a rubber band wrapped around it, or an old hat will help you accomplish…just that.
AN IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE: Share your stories. Share your memories. Share the item(s) you are holding onto. I’m serious. As my favorite guy Ralph Waldo Emerson said : “Our best thoughts come from others.” Think if Beverly hadn’t pulled me aside to share her story…I couldn’t have written this. These are the things that should be shared…not who went to what party…who is skinny…who is fat…who was invited to the wedding and who wasn’t…who ate what…who wore what…who did what on a wrecking ball…who voted for who…who made millions…who doesn’t parent right…who lives where…who drives what…etc…etc…etc… Share the stories that add value to people’s lives. We all have them. Finally let me share mine:
My Grandmother died September 29, 2005. She lived about six hours from us…and I have written a lot about her in my journals. She is still the sweetest lady I have ever known in my life. When our twins were in the hospital she called to check on them often and would always end by saying, “I’m saying a special prayer for them.” She did get to meet them when they came home….and then she lost her battle with cancer…passing away 3 months later. I always say they’re the luckiest and most blessed twins in the world…not just because they survived being born at 1lb each…but also because they were able to be held by my Grandmother.
I travelled to her funeral alone because the twins could not go out in public yet…it was too dangerous. The night before her funeral I tossed and turned in the hotel room…I could not sleep. Finally, I got up at 5am and drove to Wal-Mart. I bought a pad of paper, a pack of pens, and drove to a big rock I used to play on when I visited my Grandmother as a child. There I sat…and wrote…and cried…and cried. I went back to the hotel and put on my suit…sliding the tear-stained papers into the inside pocket of my suit. The funeral was ending…the Pastor said a prayer…and something in me made me stand up and walk to the pulpit. I didn’t even remember walking up there…and I stood…and a tear rolled down my cheek…and I could not speak. I looked at my Dad…his eyes met mine and he quickly looked down and started to cry. It was the first time I had ever seen him cry. I heard someone in the pews say, “God bless him.” And when I heard those words a calmness came over me…I pulled the papers from my suit pocket…and I began to speak. This was the first time I had ever spoken my written words…words from my heart. And to this day…after speaking to many churches, teams, small groups, and individuals…I still say it is the gift my Grandmother gave me. It was born the day I said goodbye to her.
And now it is a gift I’m able to share with you…you see…I still have the stained papers with the words I spoke that day…I held onto them…after all these years…I keep them folded up under my jeep seat…and when I feel like I’m stuck and unable to write, I’ll pull them out and read. There have been many nights I’ve sat exhausted in my gym parking lot…and read them. That’s the story about what I’ve held onto…the story I want to share with you…these papers accomplish a lot of things…they help me hold onto who I love…hold onto who I am…and help me share it all with you. Thank you all for allowing me to do so. 🙂