“Memory invites us to maintain our grip on the past, but it also calls us to pay attention to the present. Memory’s question is not just “Do you remember?” but “How do you want to be remembered?”
~the Rev. Scott Tayler
This month over 170 UU Soul Matters Sharing Circle congregations will be focusing on the theme of “Memory” in worship, religious education, and small groups. The following sample questions offer you a good idea of the activities designed to promote intellectual and spiritual growth. Which might most enliven the discussion at your Thanksgiving table?
(1) “What’s your earliest memory?”
Spend some time this month not only remembering it but exploring why you remember it. A simple way to do this is to ask: Why have I held on to this memory for so long? Why has it been holding on to me? What it is trying to give me? Who helped me remember it? Keep in mind that you’re not trying to remember your most profound memory; just your first.
What does your first memory reveal to you or about you?
Here’s my first memory:
In my first memory, I am two-and-a-half years old, dressed heavily from head to toe. My mother carries me outside and is gently lowering me into a deep white cloud: something soft, white, sparkling, and cold. I remember feeling enchanted, totally awed. That’s how I recall my introduction to snow.
To me, the persistence of this memory reflects my lifelong character strength of “appreciation of excellence and beauty.” (For a free ranked list of your character strengths, go to www.viacharacter.org.) Nature and art in many forms never ceases to inspire me. I have learned to short circuit incipient bad moods by walking out my front door and looking for three beautiful things, from a single autumn leaf to ominous, billowing clouds, or by tuning in to great music.
What is yours? Please share your earliest memory and its significance in the comments section and/or in coffee hour!
While the above question takes us to our earliest days, the next sends us to the other end of life.
2. How do you want to be remembered?
“Within each of us are two selves, suggests David Brooks in this meditative short talk: the self who craves success, who builds a résumé, and the self who seeks connection, community, love — the values that make for a great eulogy.”
How have you dealt with these two selves? Can you balance them?
Find the Brooks’ TED talk here, or for more, or for a full discussion, read his book, The Road to Character.
Want more ways to explore memory? Download and explore the November booklet, here
~ Gayle Scroggs, UUFE Adult Enrichment Coordinator.