Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Best Memories

Not long ago, I was cleaning upstairs and I came across a storage box of all my old pictures. There were pictures from high school cheerleading, college parties, spring break trips (like this one of my and 3 friends on spring break in the Bahamas), family photos, and pictures of Matt and me. As I dug through them I noticed that some memories came back to me more vividly than others.

In some of the pictures, I remembered details that pictures can't capture; what the weather was like, how I felt in that moment, or how uncomfortable those shoes were. In other pictures, I couldn't even remember where we were or when we went there. I couldn't help but wonder why I remember certain moments better than others. Some people might say that we remember the things that are most important or the moments that have the biggest impact. I think it's deeper than that.

The difference for me is that I most remember the moments in which I was truly present. The reason we think we remember big events better than little details, is because we're more likely to be fully present for the big things in our lives. Once I realized that the moments I remember the best are the moments (big and small) in which my heart connected with my mind and said, "don't ever forget this," I started trying to be more present in everyday things. When I play with Reese I turn off the TV and the computer, silence my phone and just focus on her - how she laughs, how she smiles, how excited I am to see her learning the moves to "itsy-bitsy spider." And when I decide to grab the camera to capture this moment, I'm that much more likely to remember how much fun we had that day or the exact game we were playing when she made this face:

We live in a world where everyone is constantly somewhere else. Phones in hand, laptops open, we're afraid to disconnect because of what we might miss. How ironic is it that we don't seem to fear missing what's right in front of us? It's hard for our hearts to connect with our minds when our minds are connected elsewhere. Pictures are a great thing to have, but if we're not fully present in the moment those shots are taken, the memories won't mean as much. Try it today. Get rid of all of your distractions and clear your mind. Then pick up your child, smell her hair, feel her little arms around your neck, and tell your heart and your mind, "don't ever forget this." I'll bet that moment gives you a sweeter memory than any picture ever could.

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