Thursday, February 19, 2009

all in memory

As I mentioned yesterday,
my neighbor asked me if I could transcribe 
his personal history.
I gladly agreed to do this.

He talked into cassette tapes,
remember those?
handed me a walkman
remember those?
and an extra set of AA batteries.

I'm not the fastest typer in the world,
and the whole time I prayed that 
the walkman wouldn't chew up the tape,
because I remember those things can be finicky.

this neighbor of mine,
is, hands down, the best neighbor,
probably in the world.
Every Tuesday night he walks up and down the street,
pulling out everyone's garbage cans for 
garbage day.
Every time it snows, he walks up and down the street,
with his snow machine, making a path
not only on the sidewalk,
but up to people's doors, 
and to their driveways.

So, I was curious to find out about his life.
It wasn't like he did anything to 
make him rich or famous.
He grew up,
 like everyone else his age,
in tough times.
He's lived here for the almost all of his life.
Practically on the same street, even.
He went to school, 
served a mission,
got married,
graduated from college,
raised a family,
things every one does.
You know?

It has got me thinking about 
the quiet power of one.
Just one.
He's lived a very regular life.
And yet,
he's extraordinary. 
His quite service had taught me something.
It taught me before I ever knew the rest of his life.

It also got me thinking about 
my life.
And what is it that I'm going to look back 
and remember?

Remember how I mentioned my journals the other day?
All 18 of them. I found three more in my drawer that 
haven't made it to the bin yet.
These are all full, FULL of random details of my day to day.
What is it, that is REALLY important?

If I was talking to my posterity
what would I want to point out?
What would I share that might be truly relevant to my life,
that might be helpful to them.
What is really worth remembering??
You know?

I've just been thinking...


krissa reann said...

That is so awesome! He sounds like a great neighbor...and he inspires me to be better! That is cool!

I think your posterity will love your journals. Just think of reading journals of your ancestors. Did you read Frank Walters journal... (I think that was him). It was so neat. He did not write a lot but he made a point to write something everyday. It makes you feel closer to that person. I commend you for your journal writing. I am so not good at that...Thank heavens for the blog. I can use that right?

Kaylynn said...

great post! Have you ever read "In The Middle" It's about a teacher who changes her reading and writing program to fit middle school children. It might be interesting to you as an author. Good luck on the job search!

wendy said...

Those are good thoughts for sure -- sometimes I too feel like when I die, will I have made any kind of impact on anyone. What will they remember about me. What will they talk about (YIKES) Your neighbor sounds like a wonderful man despite what we may think of as "simple". He went about his life quietly doing good.

Heatherlyn said...

That's very kind of you to transcribe his history.

I think it's really wonderful that he does those small acts of service. They make a difference, don't they?

Heatherlyn said...

That's very kind of you to transcribe his history.

I think it's really wonderful that he does those small acts of service. They make a difference, don't they?

Maple said...

Wow... Can I say, Wow! The good life is about how we choose to spend our time, who we will serve, being grateful for what we can do, and cherishing the moments. I liked your questions. Good things to think about.

Laurie said...

Isn't it amazing how all the ordinary things are what makes a person extraordinary??

I wish people would ask me to health them with their personal history. Wait a minute. That's the wrong thing to say. I need to do something to help others around me. I have a digital voice recorder. I can type pretty fast... I need to get on this!

Thanks for the inspiration!

Heidi Ashworth said...

As for your journals, the important thing is that you wrote them. That is where the power in journaling lies. Maybe one day you or your posterity will read something that you wrote but if not, everything you write is written in a book in heaven---so there you go.

susette said...

oh this reminds me of a story on of the apostles shared about the beach being full of starfish and somebody throwing them back into the water and then along came somebody else and asked him why he was doing that. He told him he certainly wouldn't be able to make a difference. He picked up another one and threw it into the ocean and said "I made a difference to that one." He continued on his way.

Debi (Dubs2007) said...

when i write in my journals I try to think of what I would like to know about my mom, what she was doing at my age, how it was for her... As a girl I wanted to know that she knew what it was like to be my age, so I tried to include a lot in my journals in my teenage years so that my daughters know that I DO know how hard it was AND I STILL think they should ______... I hope my little notes about struggles with my kids can help them when they have their kids, to know it is normal and fine...

I think it is amazing that you are taking the time to type your friends history - one day I would like to type up my "18" journals...

Kimberly said...

I love to hear stories like this one. Isn't it so inspiring to know there are such GOOD people out there? I love that "normal" can be "extraordinary!"
How lucky you are to have such a good neighbor, and that you get to learn about his life too! I find people so fascinating that I think that would be such an exciting thing to do!

Monica said...

I like your thoughts here. Remembering the priority items helps us to live a meaningful life

Meganis said...

oh i love that man... i'm sure your journals are better than mine-- all my descendents will know is that i loved eating macaroni and cheese and who went to my big brothers 8th bday party...

Kate said...

He sounds like a great man. I am so glad that you can help him with his history. I have often wondered lately the same thing what would I leave and tell my posterity that would help them or remind them of me.

jennifer said...

This comment is going to be long. Apologies ahead of time.

First of all, how flattering that your neighbor would ask you to do something so important for him! He must think highly of you as well.

And I am charmed by the simple ways he blesses everyone.

The second point in your post - how we count or make a difference.

The most wonderful thing happened recently. I rec'd an email from a blogger this week asking me to pray for her. She doesn't comment very often and I didn't realize that she was reading regularly. She proceeded to tell me in an email that my blog, and the way I mother my children, meant a lot to her. That I had blessed her.

I was astounded. All I have ever done on my blog is write about our life and what happens. I haven't TRIED to be anything special.... just us. Just our family.

So her words touched my heart like I haven't experienced in a long time.

So yes, sometimes we touch people in the simplest ways and have no idea that we have made a difference.

Thank you for this REALLY thought provoking post.