By Elizabeth Chang
Turkey, Muenster cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayo on a roll.
Sometimes, I am really good at recalling memories. Other times, I am terrible at it. There are times when I rely on my friends to remind me of what I did just a week ago, and many more times when childhood friends recall shared experiences that I had long forgotten. Can anyone relate?
I think we each have our unique ways of being reminded of people or past experiences. For me, it comes very naturally to recall memories when I think about places I have visited — traveling to see a friend, eating at a particular restaurant, walking along a familiar street — but this is hard to do when I am busy going about my daily life.
So, what’s with the random objects?
Well, it all began when I sat down at a restaurant last month and saw that the napkin dispenser on the table looked oddly familiar. After staring at it for a minute, I realized that it was the same kind of napkin dispenser that was on each table in the dining commons of my alma mater. And yes, a seemingly insignificant object suddenly gained a great deal of meaning in my eyes. The napkin dispenser turned into a reminder of countless hours spent chatting over meals with friends who have deeply impacted me.
I took a picture of that napkin dispenser.
It has been one month since I took up a new form of practicing remembrance: intentionally attaching meaning to seemingly insignificant objects and allowing those objects to bring special memories to mind. By doing this, the perishable translates into that which is everlasting. The seemingly insignificant objects that will eventually fade into dust become symbols of eternal relationships that are bound with friendship and love.
Each of the objects listed above have specific people, events, or seasons of memories attached to them, and that is only a snippet of my mental list. By practicing remembrance, I am able to keep my present life in perspective. I have not always been who I am today, and who I am today is on its journey to be who I am in the future. And with this, I remember the deeds of the Lord. For He has been good to me.
Elizabeth Chang is getting an MFT (Marriage and Family Therapy) degree at Seattle Pacific University. She graduated Taylor University with a BA in Psychology and Biblical Literature, and was raised in New York City.