It’s so easy to remember the bad times. It’s easy to sit down and have a good wallow in your pain. Who of us hasn’t? I can’t raise my hand. There are times I catch myself sorting and cataloging my mental memories. What was the particular phrase the person hurt me with? I should have handled it differently. The pain. The loss. The unfairness.
Sorrow hits us all. How we handle it is up to us. It shows what we are made of. Are we going to stuff it away and shut the closet door? Or do we open our big chest of lost dreams and broken promises to reminisce every holiday or special occasion?
We know what a monument is. We have our cemeteries. They help us to remember life is short. And they also remind us of the loves we’ve had. We bring our loved ones gifts of flowers and trinkets, sharing our memories, a slice of yesterday. There is Stonehenge in Britain, Taj Mahal, India’s symbol of love, the Statue of Liberty stands for freedom and the list could go on.
We also have walls of pictures. Our galleries of trophies. Glory days. I have beads from a local cover band from a night out I enjoyed. Ticket stubs from concerts and movies with friends. Every time I see them it takes me back to the fun. I get that giddy feeling that bubbles up. Good times. Good friends. Why I walk. These trinkets remind me of a life I lived.
Sometimes we tell our kids about their long-lost relatives. The time that their great grampy tried to bake a cake. Or the war hero uncle who bought a doll for us from overseas. We get out the old photos and relive the past. sometimes we laugh and sometimes we cry. These monuments help build a sense of belonging in our children and grandchildren. They let us know we belong. Even though these are bittersweet memories and we have to wipe a tear or two, they still build hope. We are sharing lives and teaching important moments. We are building monuments.
With these good monuments you would think there wouldn’t be any room left over for sad memories, yet we have them. We have monuments and trinkets that remind us of them also. So these days when I slip into that morose mood, I stop myself. There is no reason to keep any item in my house or in my life that makes me sad. If it’s a book, jewelry, clothing, or just a photo and it reminds me of pain or brings me sadness, it has to go. I can either give it away or toss it in the dumpster. If I must keep it, then I store it away. There is no need to build a monument to my pain. Sorrows don’t deserve that much of my energy.
It’s a lot like a river flowing. There’s usually jetties, spots where sticks and leaves, even trash get trapped. Along the sides of the river or around, the large logs and boulders, the water flows through but the twigs get stuck. If there’s a heavy rain it usually washes this all downstream. Enter friendly beaver. He traps the water intentionally. This is his way of catching a meal. When I get out a favorite picture of someone I love, I’m intentionally collecting energy. It’s love. And the energy floods my entire body and stays with me throughout most of the day. Everyone I bump into or talk to can share bits of this energy. I can use it for my health or put it into a cause I feel strongly about.
In contrast, if I have a bottle of perfume left over from an ex friend or ex boyfriend, I’m constantly remembering that person. I stew over the last fight we had. I feel the pang of my loss. And it’s not healthy for me, much like picking the scab off of a wound or bathing in sewer water. I have no room in my life to remember hatred. I have no room for holding on to grievances.
Mostly I choose reminders of joy and love. I put them up on my mirrors and tuck them into drawers where I’ll bump into them. Like the glow-in-the-dark skeleton gloves I found in my sock drawer from a Halloween party I went to years ago. Good times.