weekend guest solved a cryptoquote that said, "If you want to test
your memory, try to remember what you were worrying about one year ago
today." I decided to take the test.
skillful at solving puzzles than my guest, I felt at home with remembering
my experiences. I couldn't immediately recall what might have been on my
mind 12 months before, but since one of my intermittent concerns is the
amount of written material I accumulate, it was handy to look up what had
been going on in my life. Behind this year's calendar on the nail is last
year's calendar, and there's also one from the year before that.
What I found
when I looked back exactly one year was a blank square, except for the
printed date. I guess I had a good excuse for not remembering anything
specific. There was no indication of hot or cold or wet weather. There was
no record of any appointment or exercise done or anything good, bad or
unusual at all. The squares before and after included the word
"nice," referring to the weather. Presumably I wasn't worried
about anything major.
looking back two years. A Saturday note indicated I'd had a long-distance
telephone call from my guest. Observing the rain notations for previous
days, we concluded that it must have been the time when she'd heard news
reports of significant flooding in Lincoln. Concerned, she called to be
sure we were still above water.
This year on
that date, people in the area were worried about water shortages instead.
Then the rainfall in one day almost made up the deficit previously
reported for the year. There was more rain on following days.
say that it just goes to show that we never worry about the right things.
Of course, that leads to opposite conclusions. Either we should worry
less, since we probably won’t be pick the appropriate concerns, or we
should worry more in order to cover all the possibilities.
My guest and
I discussed the fact that the puzzle she deciphered could be taken as a
comment about worrying or about memory.
that most people would consider it a reminder of the folly of worrying. A
simpler, popular rendition would be, "Don't worry; be happy."
The quote suggesting the memory test adds a personalized object lesson,
possibly with humor built in, as a person fumbles around trying to recall
what his really big issues were in the not-so-distant past.
If we even
forget what we've worried about, surely we also forget what has brought
happiness into our lives.
A few weeks
after my guest and I discussed the quotation about worry and memory, we
were among a group of people who received a page to fill for a memory
book. A script heading at the top of each page said, "I'll always
remember..." Each person was invited to use the space for a story,
greeting, drawing, snapshot or other selection to give to a relative for
her 90th birthday.
relative has noticed some loss of memory, and other reports confirm it, so
I wondered what she would recall about the shared experiences I happened
to remember and include on my page. It was humbling to enumerate the many
special events she had planned for me and others in my family; the many
gifts she had chosen, purchased and sent. Still, I've probably forgotten
kindnesses that she felt more important or worked harder to arrange. I
wondered if the memory book was perhaps more valuable for the rest of us
than for the recipient.
should test our memories more often. If we would recall more of how our
worries have been relieved and how much good has filled our years, maybe
then we'd be more likely to appreciate the blessings we have received.
It's worth a test.