The Pasta Lesson

Our bishop’s husband died recently. She‘s a widow now, and I think about what she’ll be going through. There will be the nights when she wakes up, and he’s not there. There will be times when she thinks, “Oh, he would love this…”, wanting to share something new. And then there will be the moments when she recalls an experience from the past, and realizes that she has forgotten part of that story. There weren’t any photographs, and it was a long time ago, or a far away place. And now he’s gone — his memory out of her reach.

What do you remember from your youth? Your college years? Your late twenties and early thirties? If you’re like me, you have a few “important” memories, some others that can be revived with help from a friend, a photograph, a song, or maybe a movie from that time, but the rest has faded out.

Memory is a funny thing, though. We think of it losing it as a bad thing. “Memory like a sieve” is not a complement. But other memories are “seared on our brains” — ouch. Don’t we all have memories that we would rather forget? Times that we’d like to remember the lesson, but forget the actual experience?

Allow me to suggest to those who suffer from memory – good memories lost with the death of a loved one, or bad memories too easily recalled – that the answer is simple: learn to forget. Train your brain to be a colander. Pasta is cooked in a pot full of water, but the colander only holds the good stuff. Life is going to keep sending you wonderful experiences. Be the sieve, and enjoy the now.

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