Memory

Lately, I’ve been thinking an awful lot about perception and memory. Part of it has to do with thinking about memoirs and a story Dani Shapiro told at the L.A Times Festival of Books. She talked about how in her first memoir she wrote about and incident that happened around the death of her father, and something a family member said to her. Ten years later, she wrote the same scene without referring to her eariler work, and in her new version, it was a different family member that said this to her.

Memories are faulty. They are so strongly shaped by who we are in that moment, and of course, what we choose to remember and what impacts us as people. One of my favorite lines in Beth Kephart’s Nothing but Ghosts, is “history is never absolute.” Memory is such an odd function of our humanity and it is imperfect.

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and they recall something you were there for through TOTALLY DIFFERENT EYES? Or have you ever learned something later on that sheds a new light and alters the entire way you saw something to begin with?

I’ve also been thinking about this in regards to what can only be called a relationship split that I recently experienced. (not a romantic relationship–a friendship) I’ve gone through many phases in processing this…hurt, anger, self-righteousness…but there’s this part of me that knows that while I see things from one angle, this other person is looking at it in a different light. In a way, this helps me to be at peace with things. (I’ve already tried to dialogue in an open and honest way and didn’t succeed, so I have to come to some measure of peace) There are probably wrongs I’ve committed that I can’t see from my limited perspective, and completely different ways of interpreting events from my own. And the truth…the truth is probably somewhere in between.

I guess only God has the truth…He sees into the depths of our hearts and knows our intentions. And while He doesn’t share this knowledge with us, it’s kind of comforting to think someone out there does, in fact, know.

And that one day we will know, just as we are known.