I saw something recently that keeps replaying in my mind, urging me to acknowledge its existence, to answer the question. It was a headline asking, “What is your favorite memory?” A short video accompanied the story, featuring a crew going to different cities around the globe, asking of 50 people that one question- “What is your favorite memory?”

And I can’t escape thinking of it– there was a look in their eyes when the question was asked- almost a panic, a searching, longing glance. A quick flutter of the eye, as if seeking and filing, sorting through, collating experiences.

It’s been making me think ever since. I have too many good memories, too many to pick just one. Which makes me feel thankful and sad and hopeful and full of life and wondering and wishing.

It makes me think of others who have few. Over the past weeks I have been working with patients who have so much less. Who have no visitors, who have aged far beyond their years. Whose lifestyle choices are rooted in sadness. Whose future is dim. People who have only scant memories, small stories, such narrow pieces of life, but somehow have great lessons to teach. I wonder if they have to search long to think of a favorite memory out of few. And I wonder if it’s easier for them to pick one favorite, specific memory since there are less of them.

And I feel small. Because I have too many. And I feel glad. Indebted. Because so much of that is in credit to my parents. And I feel small because I want to do the same for our children. I want them to have a hard time choosing someday, too.

I haven’t decided. I don’t have an answer. I still can’t pick just one. It could be so many things, through so many years. From childhood to adolescence to adulthood, to marriage to births and life and travel and love.

Memories run through my mind, things I haven’t thought about in years. Things that are good and beneficial, things that I have written down in journals, things that I need to remember to tell our children. Things that matter.

I can’t decide yet. Can’t even narrow it down. Remarkably, I may never be able to.

And for that, I’m thankful.


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