Five-Minute Friday: Remember

I’ve actually been thinking a fair amount about remembering lately.

I’m a documenter; I keep journals and letters and obsessively hold on to scraps of paper — birthday cards, concert programmes, the occasional grocery list — that mean something to be. Usually their meaning is actually more of a function. I collect and curate bits and pieces that unlock memories for me.

This year is the fiftieth anniversary of the summer camp I attended as a child (and for many years as staff, as well). I can’t make it to the celebratory luncheon, but I’ve enjoyed seeing old pictures go up on facebook — many of them from many years before I was born. Former campers and staff members have been commenting with what they remember, trying to identify years and camps and faces in these pictures of what camp looked like in years gone by.

For about the first six or seven years I went to camp — starting the summer I was nine — I kept a special journal that was just for writing down things about camp: what cabin I was in, who my counsellor was, the craft we did, the memory verses we (supposedly) memorized, who else was in my cabin with me, and then the special memories of what I said and did and saw. Looking back on those entries I remember those things, and usually the context around them. I’m glad that I wrote those things down.

What I really remember when I think about camp as a child, though, is not so much what I did, but the feeling of being there. It was a breathless, golden feeling — where a week seemed about a month long and anything could happen. Camp was so far removed from my very urban regular life that it seemed almost to be contained in (or perhaps to contain) its own universe. Being at camp had its own special magic.

And so more than the activities, the songs, or the things I learned, that breathless, magic, golden out-of-timeness is what I remember. I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything.

Link up with Lisa-Jo and other five-minute Friday-ers here

Five-Minute Friday: Rest

The thing about rest, it seems to me, is that either we don’t have enough and we start going crazy, or we have too much and we start going crazy. It’s a challenge to find the balance point.

Two summers ago, I was hit with some sort of mystery illness (“We think it’s probably a virus”, which is doctor-speak for “yeah, we have no idea what’s going on”) that laid me out for several weeks. I couldn’t eat much and I had no energy, and so work was out of the question and so was almost everything else. I just lay on the couch, resting, or trying to. I don’t really remember what-all I did; I dozed, I read, I probably watched a little too much tv. Sometimes I just sat there.

That was rest enforced by outside circumstances, and it drove me nuts. I was bored. I was sedentary, but I wasn’t really resting. My body was recuperating, but not much was going on with my soul.

I can contrast this with other parts of my life, where it felt like I was getting no rest at all. Work, church, school, other commitments… I was busy (and part of me likes to be busy), and I was exhausted. I wasn’t getting any real rest, and though my body was busy enough to get good sleep through sheer tiredness… again, my body was resting, but there wasn’t much going on with my soul.

Soul-rest is the real rest, I think. I’ve been learning something about it this Lent. I gave up tv (and movies, and youtube…) and so have been forced to do things with my off-hours that are actually restful. I’ve been practising piano, and colouring, and playing scrabble with Stan in the evenings. I’ve been cooking and sewing and writing. I’ve been reading more than usual. And in absence of noise, I’ve been sitting in the quiet.

I’m learning how to rest.

Link up with Lisa-Jo and others for Five-Minute Friday here