Memories are a priceless treasure

I am still reeling from events of the last few months—happiness, sorrow, hope, and ecstasy—and I have come to appreciate anew the importance of family and memories. I realize that if you do a Google search of the importance and role of memory, you are apt to find thousands of different viewpoints, perspectives, and opinions. I acknowledge these observations and appreciate the insights of others.  But I know through personal experience that the value and significance of remembering cannot be overstated.

Elder Spencer W. Kimball, when he was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said: “When you look in the dictionary for the most important word, do you know what it is? It could be ‘remember.’ Because all of you have made covenants … our greatest need is to remember.”  A form of the word remember is used four times in the sacrament prayers.

postcard-1242616_640Memories are an interesting dichotomy. We live each day making them, and then we spend a lifetime remembering them. They are all around us. I have always been fascinated with the parable of the man who sold all he had to buy a field to secure a hidden treasure or the woman who swept her house to find the lost coin. Perhaps in this way one of our pearls of great price is right at our finger tips. I like to think that someday we realize our memories will be one of the treasures that we take with us. It is easy to overlook their significance. They unite us and give us purpose and importance in our lives and that of our families.

Memory is experiences relived perpetually.

Good memories are like framing a photo. One adjusts the positioning to focus on the most important subject in the picture. That doesn’t mean that the foreground or background don’t exist or aren’t significant. It just means that those elements are not the primary role of the picture. In a similar way, we all have less than admirable moments, and life is full of challenging times and hardship.

While they are necessary and significant, they are not the primary focus of our lives like the background and ulterior components are not the subject of a picture. Using our memory to elicit feelings of joy and yet experience the things that will bring us true happiness is both a protection and a promise. Perhaps the most important word in our sacrament prayer remember is also of primary importance in our lives as well. Before we can remember, we value and learn. Then our memories become a great asset in our lives.

A journal is a place where you can capture and relive good memories. What I have found in my experience  is that some of the most difficult times in my life have made the best memories of all. I love reading my dad’s journal. I learn more about him, my grandpa, and the values important in our family and why I hold them so dear. Below is a brief excerpt from my father’s journal:

Dad often did special things, showing he cared about me. In my teens, when I was working summers, I used some of the money to start a rabbit business. I got booklets on rabbit raising. I built pens, bought does and bucks, and feed. I raised young rabbits just the right size for marketing, dressed them, and sold them to a Sugar House grocery store for their meat market.

In time, I had expanded to twelve pens put together in duplex fashion, with free choice hay and grain feeders. They were located under Dad’s fruit trees behind the garage. I needed two more large pens to house the rabbits being grown for market. There wasn’t a place for any more pens unless I took out two of Dad’s cherished fruit trees. Dad graciously consented. I think I appreciated this much more as a man raising my own fruit trees.

Another time I came home from work, with too little time to wash Dad’s car which was very dirty, and get ready for an important date. When I was ready and went for the car, Dad had it washed it for me.

old-letters-436501_640Just a few lines tell me more about my dad and his youthful fancies, his life, and my grandpa. To me, it is amazing how words on a page in a journal, memorable songs, music, pictures, and books can stir memories and reveal valuable lessons. Now, with the Internet and social media, memories and life’s experiences can be captured in lifelong blogs, social media diaries and online journals that provide perspective, offer compassion, and become a helpmeet for us and our children. Family stories shared now are a proactive method of making memories that will influence our children and posterity.

I met a man this week Marc Mero. He provides engaging presentations to lift young people today and shares experiences, songs, and stories that provide remarkable images in our minds and memories.

Life is not about winning the race. Life is about finishing the race…Life is just a word until someone comes along and gives it meaning. You are the meaning.

After my father died, my mother found three letters he had written and saved for his family. These are among my most-prized possessions. Stories, journal entries, and letters have a way of capturing time and eliciting feelings in the reader. I have many such instances in my parents’ biographies and read them frequently. These experiences still inspire, exhilarate, and motivate me today. I have included below a favorite of mine written by Melvin J Ballard, which I have enjoyed throughout my life:

“I found myself one evening in the dreams of the night, in that sacred building, the Temple. After a season of prayer and rejoicing, I was informed that I should have the privilege of entering into one of those rooms, to meet a glorious personage, and as I entered the door, I saw, seated on a raised platform, the most glorious Being my eyes have ever beheld, or that I ever conceived existed in all the eternal worlds.

As I approached to be introduced, he arose and stepped towards me with extended arms, and he smiled as he softly spoke my name. If I shall live to be a million years old, I shall never forget that smile. He took me into his arms and kissed me, pressed me to His bosom, and blessed me, until the marrow of my bones seemed to melt! When He had finished, I fell at His feet, and as I bathed them with my tears and kisses, I saw the prints of the nails in the feet of the Redeemer of the world.

Mormon men

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The feeling that I had in the presence of Him who hath all things in His hands, to have His love, His affection, and His blessings was such that if I ever can receive that of which I had but a foretaste, I would give all that I am, all that I ever hope to be, to feel what I then felt (as cited in Bryant S. Hinckley, The Faith of Our Pioneer Fathers, pp. 226-27.)”

Capturing and sharing experiences can elicit memories that direct our lives today and help us focus on what is really important now. Memories help us standup and live our lives with hope, courage, and love. Begin sharing your priceless treasures today.

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About Walter Penning
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.

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