Memory is a child
“Memory is a child walking along a seashore. You never can tell what small pebble it will pick up and store away among its treasured things.” — Pierce Harris
Memory is nothing if not selective in what it retains. Hence five people may truthfully give five different accounts of the same event. Yet some memories can be dormant rather than fully lost, called suddenly and vividly back to life by a scent, a song, or the sight of a vintage toy once loved but long forgotten, spotted years later in an antique shop. Memory, for most of us, is a giant archive with ponderous hidden power.
Whether or not we are aware of it, each of us is storing up these small pebbles against a day when we will need to retrieve and reflect on something beautiful in the midst of pain or sorrow. And we all toss, sometimes without much thought, dozens of pebbles into the minds of our loved ones and friends; a compliment, a treat, a small favor in a difficult hour, or a moment of light-hearted shared laughter. Some of these small bits of life will be forgotten almost immediately, but some will remain and be treasured.
Have you ever had a friend say “I will never forget how much I appreciated what you said to me then” or “I don’t know how I would have managed if you had not helped me?” Often when we are the recipients of such praise, we have no recall of the kindness so fondly recounted, and we may find that others have forgotten the compassionate words or actions they offered us in a time of trouble. Kind words and loving deeds may seem insignificant at the time, but the blessings they bestow often grow richer over the years, stored fondly away to be taken out and cherished when needed most.