In the days and hours since I wrote about remembering, I have spent some more time mulling over the things that I remember, from the past two and a half months that I have spent here at Moody, or the nineteen years of my life that occurred before I moved onto campus and began toting an ID everywhere I went. I thought over my memories, mentally clicking through images, places, conversations, and events.
I spent an incredibly lengthy portion of yesterday at a swim meet, in fact the same meet that I recorded in this blog last year. As I thought about the meet yesterday, the things I did, the things I heard and said, my mind slid back to last year’s meet, and I found myself comparing the two experiences. But, more than compare which small athletes did well each year, or who I spent the majority of my time interacting with either year, I suddenly thought, “I don’t remember 2010′s meet so well because I have a great memory; in fact, by most standards, that meet was not even stellar. No, I remember that because I wrote it. I returned to my house that night, I flipped open my computer, and I wrote about it. I shared on here the antics of the young boys who still parade around doing silly things, just so that I’ll roll my eyes at them. I told you about the little guy who collected Gatorade lids, and how the girls decorated a banana with a Sharpie marker.
I remember because I told you.
I said last time that writing down memories is a powerful way to immortalize those moments in your memory, and now I have proof; if you want to remember, write. And that’s fine. Point proven. Write = remember. Good, good.
But what do I want to remember? I cannot record every event that I participate in, or copy down every conversation that I have, or record the details of every single face that I behold on any given day. It’s just too much.
How do I discern what to record? What do I scribble into a blank notebook page, or jot into an old church bulletin, or type into the little WordPress box entitled, “New Post”? What makes the cut to be transferred from “that one thing that happened to me in the morning that I will completely forget by Wednesday” to “that experience that I had that one day while I was studying at Moody that I will forever remember”?
I believe that the parts of my life, of my interactions, of the way that God has touched my life that are worthy of preservation are the parts that have stuck with me for a little bit. If don’t remember it after an hour or two, maybe it wasn’t ever meant to be a significant moment. But if I’m still thinking it over, remembering it with a slight smile on my lips as I replay the memory six hours later? That’s the moment that I chose. That’s what I’m keeping.
I’m lying on the floor in Mary’s room. There are four of us girls; two sitting with legs curled up, chins resting lightly on pulled-up knees. Across from me, Mary also lies on her stomach, hugging a pillow to her chest. Behind me, the hallway glows insistently with white light, shining in a doorway-shaped rectangle into the room. In the corner of the room, an oddly-shaped lamp seeps off-white light into the room, making the room seem even more cozy.
The three heads around me are bowed, as three of us listen to one pray out loud, silently “amen”ing her, and occasionally making the soft humming sounds that people make when they agree with something you have just prayed.
My hands are crossed in front of me, and my forehead rests on my wrists. The carpet smells faintly like the carpet in the French apartment that we stayed in, and for a second, my mind wanders back to the months that I have spent in France, and I feel my lips curl in a nostalgic smile.
But we are praying, standing at the very throne of Heaven, sharing with God our hearts, and my mind cannot stay in Paris for very long. Just as quickly as my mind had wandered to Paris, it is back in the cozy dorm room in downtown Chicago.
And I listen to what they pray. And I “amen” their words in my heart. And we ask God. And we thank God. And we praise God. And we beg God.
And then, the someone softly speaks forth the final, “amen” and we look up, squinting our eyes in the light from the hall, and the alien lamp in the corner. Girls have things to do now, and places to be, and conversations to have, and memories to make, but for that time, as we sat quietly in prayer, we talked with God. We met Him right there on the carpet, and we talked.
And that is worth remembering.