On Mementos…

Image property of Hack: Dream life [Marian D.] ©2018. All rights reserved.

Human beings are collectors by design. Since the beginning of time, we have collected objects in the effort to tell, and to retain, our stories. We’ve also built, painted, sculpted, made music, and wrote in an effort to create souvenirs for our children’s children, so that they may have the chance to experience their history long after the primary actors are gone. After all, it is only in this way that they can continue the mission forward.

We are storytellers, and we are quite good at weaving the webs of memory into powerful tales that sustain us despite the grip of death.

I have collected a few odd mementos in my life, and they mostly tie into places that contributed profoundly to my journey: touristic shot glasses that remind me of the parts of the world I have seen, and of the people who were with me; Prints of city skylines, Churches, and Mosques; Albums upon albums of print photographs (I was around during the Kodak age, so I can appreciate it), memorizing the faces of old friends who have become strangers, because my mind can’t hold them all for me. There are also a half dozen bibles in several languages, and at least a dozen journals I’ve held onto since I was in fourth grade. They’re full of mementos too… feathers, dry roses, dirt that I labelled “star dust” – haha! Yearbooks. Vinyl records, and cassette tapes. Rocks from different places that I came to love.

I’ve collected mental snapshots of the places that all of these objects belonged to, because I don’t often have the chance to go back. How else do we, the wandering, find our way back home? How do we retain the story for our children, especially when they are also the children of an entirely other half, with his/her own history to share?

Once in a while, I sit down to unpack my stories, often at places like the one pictured above, one of my hide-outs during my undergraduate years. Yes, I was writing in a chapel while my friends were drinking in the courtyard, and I’m not shy to admit it!

It is only upon returning that you realize how long you’ve been gone, and the enormity of all that happened in between.

Perhaps we can find consolation in the fact that, when we do put our pens down and lay our own stories to rest, there will be others to pick them up and continue the plight for understanding. Who are we without our stories? What do we become when, one day, we inevitably lose them? What does this all mean? What’s the point of it all? What’s next?

Questions as old as time. Questions that have confounded everyone there ever was, everyone that is, and everyone that will ever be.

And remember… we design our own luck!


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