Sometimes I wish I had a perfect memory. This happens during those many moments when I find myself frustrated that a name, or a date, or some other factoid I’m sure I used to know, is stubbornly eluding my mental grasp.
Usually, if I allow the question to linger in the back of my mind for a few minutes, the answer will float magically up to the surface, like one of those mysterious predictions in the window of a Magic 8 Ball. But alas, not always.
Oh, for perfect powers of recollection!
Yet such powers might turn out to be not a dream, but a nightmare. One of the wonderful things about being human is our ability to weave our memories into a coherent narrative, one that allows us to make sense of things. Such weaving requires not only the ability to remember, but also the ability to forget.
We humans are pattern makers, who create meaning for ourselves not merely from the raw material of lived experience, but from the lights and shadows we are able to perceive within that experience. Yes, some of those shadows contain dark memories, doorways into experiences of hurt and pain.
From time to time we need to stare into those shadowy doorways, drawing what we need from the darkness within. But afterward, we must remember to shut the door.