Too Late?

As we move forward in our lives, I have found that it is sometimes necessary to look back in order to maintain a proper perspective. If indeed, as I believe, our perception shapes our reality, then what we have remembered of our past is still at work in our day to day lives shaping our every move.

Let me explain.

I have existed in time and space for some 58 plus years. As I remember all those years today they seem to fit within an inch of space on the desk in front of me. Memories are like that—very tight and compressed. If we tried to make a movie of our lives, at the most it might take 3 hours to portray. Of course some things would be left out but you get the picture.

58 plus years equal 21,371 days that I have occupied some space in this reality we call the 20th and 21st century. More events have taken place during this time than can ever be remembered or written about. Kindergarten, 1st Grade, Ist love, first kiss, driver’s training, graduation, marriage, kids, job and vacations—just to name a few of the events that have taken place in our lives that mark our time on planet earth.

In my memory, they are only as wide as my head—eight to ten inches—but they all fit seemlessly in the cells and memory banks that make up my brain.

If you have made it this far—congratulatons.

The point that I am trying to make is this: is what I remember really true or have my memories been filtered through that elaborate system that makes me who I am.

Case in point: my father. Who was he and how did what he live through work its’ way into my life and form who I am. And is what I remember of him an accurate portrayal of the man or simply something I have made up over the years in order to make me feel better about myself.

Thinking about this I called his youngest brother the other night to check out some memories. I am sure that he was shocked to hear my voice on the other end of the line but he was very gracious to me in my moment of need. I haven’t talked with him for a couple of years but I felt a sense of urgency that can’t be fully explained at this time. And what I came away from our converstion was this: it really might be too late to get answers to the questions that seem to have arisen in my mind of late.

Who my dad was (he passed away several years ago) will not change any time soon in my memory—truth or not. What I am left with is what I have and I have mostly made peace with all of that. I was allowed the time to see him before he died from the cancer that was spreading rapidly through his body. I am ever grateful for that time. As far as I am concerned, we made our peace and came to the realization that we had both done our best in handling the situations that life presented us with.

Am I re-writting history—perhaps. Maybe we all are in some sort of 1984 time-warp and as time passes we update the files in our memory banks to fit where we need them to fit. Was life in my parents house as bad as I remember it or as good as I seem to think sometimes. Maybe somewhere in between. Does it really matter on a day to day basis? Perhaps not really that much. But these thoughts have occupied my mind for the past week or so and I thought it would be good to get them out and let them level things out a little bit.

It was overall, an excellent day and I hope yours was as well. Enjoy your ride.

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6 Responses to Too Late?

  1. ded says:

    Over at Jimazing Thoughts, Jim’s latest post sifts through how false belief systems in our souls guide/control our emotional responses to people and situations. You are exploring the vagaries of memory and the manner in which we store those memories as we choose to do so through our own subjective belief system. Interesting. I have been journaling about similarities I see among a very disparate group of bloggers I read. Here is another. Conclusions I draw are people are innately and unceasingly subjective. There is little objective reality we share. Which for me becomes strong evidence that only walking in love toward others can be a shared reality. It is the only way to “agree” with anyone since you agree on a shared state of respect for one another. The material world becomes something you experience together but such sharing is not based on perceiving that material world “in sync” perceptually. I think this position allows us to “float” effectively on the currents of other’s perceptions and experience the deepest sense of satisfaction.

  2. Terry Henry says:

    Thanks for your comments. I added a link to Jim’s site as well.You are right about the subjective nature of things. Is that why Paul said that he no longer knew anybody after the flesh but only by the spirit (can’t find the reference but know it’s there).Part of what I was also trying to articulate was a desire to set the record straight sort of. Did my dad really walk ten miles to school in the snow and all of those types of memories which really might be made up or was it really a story he told about someone else or maybe they were making fun of something that someone else said and I missed the point.Not being in tune with my dad’s family all these years I think has brought about its own conclusion. As I move forward I will indeed try to filter my memories (good and bad) of these people through that filter of love and forgiveness rather than try to hold them responsible for something they can’t even remember.

  3. ded says:

    Sorry I didn’t write any empathetic thoughts about sorting out your dad memories, but I did relate. It is hard to sort what happened from what we think happened. I think I gave up on such where my dad is concerned, but then I have so very few memories of him anyway.

  4. Terry Henry says:

    I think the empathy ship has sailed on that one but appreciate your sensitivity to it anyway. I think we are all making headway in this area and will keep you posted on my progress in that area.My buddy Alan, when asked about what I do with what I am in the memory arena, told me that we don’t have to get rid of memories, just file them in the history file where we can access them when we want or need to but don’t have them to use as filters anymore.

  5. Jimazing says:

    Here I am about to comment on your blog entry and my mind is preoccupied with the fact that my writing is influencing your discussion even before I read it. There, I said it. 🙂 (That’s not too unlike the pretty girl who tells her homework partner he can kiss her. After the kiss she explains that she doesn’t have feelings for him, she just knew he’d never be able to concentrate on the homework until he kissed her)… ok, maybe it is nothing like it, but it was what i was thinking about :)I think memory is a great thing and a terrible thing. That you understand your memories are subjective is a great step in the right direction. The least objective person is usually the one who thinks they are most objective. Do all guys deal with the father relationship? I know I do. I am blessed that my father is alive today and I can talk to him. I called him last night. At the same time, we are on such different wavelengths that it is sometimes more frustrating than if he were gone. Don’t get me wrong, I am truly glad I still have him with me. This is what I mean… I have questions about his thoughts and feelings when he seems to have never thought about them. He seems stuck in the day to day, here and now. I don’t think he ever asked the questions that I am asking. You said “…I have mostly made peace…” I hear you. For me, it is hard to reconcile the love that my father gives me with the love that I long for. He just doesn’t get it. He can’t.Roll that movie again, but this time with feeling… I’ll bet it is a lot longer than 3 hours!

  6. Terry Henry says:

    Thanks for the kiss and the comments as well. I certainly think that influence is all around us and most of the time we are not that aware of where it comes from or where it goes. It is kinda like folk music—it is a blend of what we have heard from childhood on. Woody Guthrie influenced Bob Dylan and Dylan has his thousands.I remember “discovering” Dylan in the 11th grade. It wasn’t until much later that I became aware of the fact that I was only one of many who had—in their own little towns—discovered him at the same time.Life is like that I guess.In all of this I am more than victorious—I just need to fully believe it and start living the part.

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