Love the moment and the energy of the moment will spread beyond all boundaries. Corita Kent
Look What I Found
As I was cleaning out a bedroom closet the other day, I found an old box hidden behind some clothes on a shelf. I didn’t get much cleaning done once I opened it. In the box, I found a bunch of rocks. Amazing, right?!
I should mention that these weren’t your average run-of-the-mill rocks. I immediately recognized the shiny specimens of quartz, jasper and petrified wood. What I had rediscovered was the rock collection of a woman who used to insist that we call her “Tillie” (because she thought that the title, “Grandma,” made her sound old). Tillie started collecting those rocks as a young girl growing up in Idaho, and she added a few little pieces from time to time for the rest of her life.
I can remember feeling the bumpy “skin” of the snake agate she had found years earlier near her home in Southeastern Idaho. We tried to count all the white dots in the snowflake obsidian from Southern Utah, and I was hypnotized by the bright colors of the garnets from Nevada, the pink agate she picked up in South Dakota and the bright, blue howlite she found on the ground in California.
Of course, my favorite was the light brown coprolite (fossilized animal dung) from Washington state. To the little boy I was when Tillie first explained it to me, the thought of a small creature doing his business thousands of years ago and having it eventually turn to stone was just plain fascinating. To the grown man I have become, it still brings a big smile to my face.
A Gift that Gives Forever
Meaningful memories are pleasant pastimes at least. At most, they can have a profound influence on the way we think and feel about ourselves and others and life in general. More importantly, the memory of a single event, no matter how simple it may have seemed at the time, can change the way we live our lives for years, and even decades, down the road. Here are three things you can do to create meaningful memories with those you love.
1. Learn to enjoy what they love to do.
When was the last time you played games in the basement with your son? How often do you text your daughter? Are you willing to watch a football game with your husband or a heart-warming movie with your wife? Just make sure that when you engage in their favorite activities you really get into it. Get good enough to give him a run for his money. Text her an abbreviation she has to look up. Give him a high five when his team scores a touchdown. Hold her hand during the scene when love conquers all.
2. Teach them to enjoy what you love to do.
How often to you enjoy your favorite hobbies or pastimes alone? It’s obviously not a good idea to demand that others participate, but there’s nothing wrong with an occasional invitation. Don’t let your assumption that they’re not interested stop you. You might be surprised how willing they are to try something new, even if it’s just to spend a little more time with you. Of course, the best time to involve others in your favorite activities is when you’re mature enough not to micro-manage their experience and they’re young enough to be curious about everything, or small enough to carry with you when they’re not (Just kidding, but not really).
3. Enjoy whatever you do when you’re with them.
Continually remind yourself that every moment can be one that lasts a lifetime to you and someone you love. Such moments will matter to both of you for a long time after one of you is gone. I can think of many moments in my life that made a difference to me while I was engaged in activities that were boring, tedious or downright difficult. Whether you’re doing homework with one of your children, painting a bathroom with your spouse or trimming rose bushes with your dad, treat it as if it’s the last time you’ll ever see them again in this life. Doing it that way will add to the enjoyment of seeing them again and bring peace in the rare event that you don’t.
I used to think it was so cool to walk where famous movie stars had been, or read a letter written by a popular historical figure or get an autograph from a legendary football coach. Right now, I’m holding a very old piece of animal dung, and I can’t think of anything money can buy that I would trade it for. Just knowing that a farm girl I once knew saw some value in it and left it for me when she died makes it more precious than any diamond or a bucket full of gold.
As luck would have it, I have a whole box full of rocks like that. Their magic is in the way they remind me of the curiosity and wonder that once came so naturally to me, childlike qualities reawakened in me again right now. These small stones also remind me what it was like to be loved unconditionally by a woman who is no longer visible but very much alive.
Tell me about one of your happiest memories and how it has changed your life for good.