The Power of Sharing Memories

I’m conflicted on social media these days – so much good has come from our digital connections but the weight of the evil done via FB, Twitter, Instagram, et al certainly tarnishes what was once a pretty neato thing. But the other day a business associate shared something that struck a chord with me.

If you’re reading this, even if we barely talk, tell me your favorite memory of me. After that – consider making this your status, because you’d be surprised the memories people hold of you.

It struck me so much that I not only responded to her post, but I put it on my wall as well.

You see, there’ve been a series of events in my life lately that have keenly reminded me that each of not only has the first time we meet a person, but we also have the last time we see them. It’s the last time that we don’t know — maybe they move away, or you change jobs, or they get hit by lightning and die. We just don’t know…

I was thinking about all the wonderful people in my life who I’ve never told them that they’ve made my life better for having been in it.

Several years ago, I was having a particularly hard morning. I’m not much of a morning person and when I was working while parenting small children, heading to work on Sunday mornings was often not my favorite experience. I’d wrangle the kids, tying shoes while trying to apply mascara or lipstick, and hope my slip wasn’t showing went we finally arrived at church–I felt like a hot mess most times. There was a dear lady I sang in the choir with and she stopped me one morning. I was rushing back to my office to grab a forgotten item and she reached out, put her hand on my arm and said, “Kristina, how are you?”

She knew the answer. It was written all over my face. I was harried, crabby, and wishing the morning could have started a few hours later. But what was written all over her face was compassion and care. She was a grandmother by then but knew all about trying to do all the things even when you’re not up to it.

Something about her face, as well as the hand pulling me to a stop, made me change course. I stopped. I saw her. And I realized that she had just made my day feel better. And so my response – which a moment before would have been a quick “fine!” or “ugh, running late!” turned into, “I’m better for having seen you!”

I’ve kept saying that to people all these years later because I’ve noticed that they do exactly what Barb did right then — she paused and then smiled. She’d opened a door to me and I welcomed her right back.

It’s one of my favorite memories of Barb Harlan, her smile while we were standing there in the sunny hallway of Vancouver UCC outside the choir door.

I never got the chance to tell her that but this weekend, as we make our way back into our building after nearly two and a half years after an arson fire, I’ll take a few moments between running back to my office for a forgotten item and stand there in the hallway, right where Barb stopped me, and I’ll think to myself,

I’m better today for having had you in my life.

Take care of yourselves, friends. May the day be filled with real or proverbial sunshine and may your days be better for having folks in your life.


ps. And Barb, I sure do miss you.

We Like Our Lies The Best

Seeing as it is the Monday following Thanksgiving, I figure most of my fellow Americans here in the US are either congratulating themselves for having finally polished off the Thanksgiving left-overs or are giving Aunt Martha’s casserole in a Tupperware dish a cautious sniff. (When in doubt, throw it out!) Another Thanksgiving come and gone, another opportunity to lie to ourselves.

I’m not trying to speak for all Thanksgiving celebrators, but I probably speak for many of us when I say that our favorite parts of the holiday are based on at least one lie. Most likely, there are many lies we tell ourselves when it comes to the holiday, the least of them being that pumpkin pie is basically a vegetable hidden under all that whipped cream serving of dairy. Continue reading

On Being More Rainbowy

After I get my kids and husband out the door in the morning, I like to pour myself a cup of coffee and just be still for a bit. Usually I watch the birds out my window and check social media to see what folks near and far are up to. This morning was pretty much the same even though everyone was mysteriously ready nearly five minutes early. The door closed, the garage door came back down, and the dog looked at me as if to ask if it was okay to come lay by my feet. The coffee steamed and the birds sang outside. Continue reading

Let’s Be More Kind

A few days (or was it weeks? oh dear) I tweeted out some things that were true for me in that moment. I had read a tweet by the agent Jessica Sinsheimer and I was reminded of how sweet she always is to folks on Twitter. I’m sure she has her moments of crankiness in her private life, but on-line she is always kind and gracious. In that moment, I was moved to tweet something along those same lines. Continue reading