Welcome to the em space, a staff writer's commentary page with reflections on life experiences in Logan County and beyond. Thank you for reading.

- Mary Krallmann

Try this memory test

A recent 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.

Though less 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.

I tried 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.

Some would 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.

I'd guess 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.

The older 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.

Maybe we 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.

[Mary Krallmann]

"Never worry about anything.  But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks." – Philippians 4:6

"Give thanks to the Lord because he is good, because his mercy endures forever." – Psalm 136:1