Wednesday, July 19, 2023

To be forgotten...

Live now. 

I was talking with my mom this week on our road trip to Oregon. She commented that it's rather alarming to realize that in 100 years no one is likely to remember any of us. Even the details of historical figures with well-documented lives get fuzzy and incoherent. Those individuals are rarely remembered for the WHO that they were, even if they are remembered for what they might represent in the timeline of history. 

Is this a tragedy? I don't think so. It seems to me that we are placed in the timeline of history, in the place(s), alongside the people where we are supposed to be. Sometimes, our journeys are fraught with heartache, danger, pain and/or insurmountable challenges, and yet we cannot jump around on the timeline and wishing for what could be or what could have been does not alter our reality. What we do with that reality is very much our responsibility in many ways. 

My friend told me about these beautiful drawings - works of art - that are carved into the sand along the ocean. Artists come and devote themselves to creating masterpieces for others to enjoy. My friend told me that last time she went down to see those art pieces, she spent a good part of the time just watching the audience and their response(s) to the art. She said it was mesmerizing. It made me think... our lives are so much like that. We can create masterpieces in the contours of the sand, changing those who are in our lives for that window in time, knowing that the tide will come in someday and those masterpieces will likely be forgotten. The tide is predictable and dependable, a motivator to not waste time, to build those momentary masterpieces. Or Instead of beauty, we can write words of disgust/filth in the sand. We can write nothing at all. The choice is ours. 

We must decide what to do with the time we are given. To do well with what I am given... it is the burden of responsibility that tucks me in a night and very much determines the course for the day I awaken to. I fail more often than I succeed - breaking hearts, disappointing those I love, faltering when I should be bold, yielding to weakness instead of moving forward in strength (that may or not be my own), becoming overwhelmed in my struggle(s) when joy waits to surprise me, and simply not doing all that I am supposed to do with this life in this time. And yet... I do sometimes succeed. And there is beauty in that. I find my strength is rarely my own. And as long as my borrowed breath is still mine, I will endeavor to draw beautiful paintings in my sand. 


Anonymous said...

The artist told my friend that one of his favorite things about creating these momentary masterpieces is watching them being slowly but inevitably obliterated by the incoming tide. It’s a constant he can bank on and I think it’s what propels him to do what he wants to do without hesitation or dithering. He wastes not a moment and it’s in those moments that beauty resides.

Anonymous said...

For me, I’d like to believe it’s not important whether I am remembered. That probability is not a factor in how a life should be lived. The reality is undeniable: they may not remember me, and I will never know them!

If we mark the quality of our existence by whether we are remembered in future generations, I think we miss the joy of living fully in the present. To love and be loved while our hearts beat is really all that should matter.