It’s hard to overestimate the value of having some good memory stored away that you can bring to mind. What you felt or saw long ago can sometimes bring new hope or perspective or motivation into the current moment. It may inspire gratitude or joy or love. There may even be times when you’re struggling to find your way that some past experience comes to mind and helps illuminate the path forward.
At the end of The Brothers Karamazov, Alyosha, the protagonist of the novel, speaks of the power of having good memories stored away in our hearts. He tells a group of boys gathered around him,
“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, 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.”
Memories stick with us. They have the power to affect us greatly. And so having some good memories to keep with us is something worth being grateful for.
It’s also worth consider what kind of memories we’re currently creating. And not just the memories we’re making for ourselves, but the memories we’re making for those around us, who’ll be here long after we’re gone. Are we creating memories they can take with them and reflect on fondly many year from now?
The gift of some good memories to carry into the future is a wonderful gift to give. And although this kind of gift need not cost a dime, yet, it may be one of the most priceless gifts we can give.