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Cherish the memories of youth

"You must know that there is nothing higher and stronger and more wholesome and good for life in the future than some good memory, especially a memory of childhood, a memory of home.  People talk to you a great deal about your education, but some good, sacred memory, preserved from childhood, is perhaps the best education.  If a man carries many such memories with him into life, he is safe to the end of his days, and if one has only one good memory left in one's heart, even that may sometime be the means of saving us." The Brothers Karamazov, pg. 727.

In this moving scene of The Brothers Karamazov Alexei Karamazov reflects upon the memories of childhood and the importance of maintaining them throughout one's life.  The scene of this reflection takes place after the funeral of a boy named Illusha who has died from consumption. Most of the village boys are there to pay their last respects to their fallen colleague and classmate.  What makes this scene so beautiful is how it came about in the first place.  Prior to Illusha's untimely death, he was routinely taunted, and bullied by those same boys. But in a wonderful, uplifting transformation  those same boys repented of their harsh and inhumane treatment and spent all of their free time visiting and looking after Illusha while he was still alive. The catalyst of this forgiveness was Alexei Karamazov.  In many ways Alexei embodied the perfect forgiveness that Christ gives to all.

This scene made a deep impression on me in the following two ways: 1) I was moved by the beauty of the scene, 2) I was moved by Alexei's exhortation to the boys to hold on to the memories of their childhoods.
I can attest to this myself.  As I grow older and older, assuming greater responsibilities the tendency for me is to forget, to not reflect on the memories of my youth. But from time to time a random memory will creep in, (often times during the strangest times) from my childhood causing me to pause temporarily, to take inventory on how I am living in the present.  Often times this memory of childhood will give me a new sense of peace and perspective.

Given our fast paced environments this worthwhile remembrance becomes nearly impossible.When we are constantly bombarded by e-mails, twitter, facebook, our I phones, and I pods, we lose a sense of who we once were. Once we lose this vital part of ourselves then the tendency is to roam our entire lifetimes, without an integrated identity.  We need our pasts in order to shape our futures, our destiny's.   We need to take time to reflect on the memories of our childhoods. 

Here are some simple, constructive ways of reconnecting with your childhood:

  • Watch a movie that you liked as a child
  • Go through a photo album
  • Call a friend from your childhood and set a time to meet
  • Play a board game that was important to you as a child
  • Listen to a song that reminds you of your childhood
 While you are reclaiming your childhood memories I strongly suggest that you listen to this Beatles song:




Comments

  1. Marco: This is beautiful and poignant. Keep on writing and sharing, mi cugino.

    Ciao,
    Dom

    ReplyDelete

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