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Memories: Cruel or Compassionate?


Memories are worse than bullets. ~Carlos Ruiz Zafón

A bullet pierces the chest wall, scrambles the heart before blowing through the back leaving a spreading sanguine pool. Its work is done. An instant of pain, maybe, followed by an eternity outside the clutches of time.

Memories can be crueler. They have the power to blood let repeatedly, for a while continually. Pain is a tool they use to make their presence known, felt. If we are lucky, the memory fades, the pain attenuates until it becomes tolerable, manageable, perhaps even temporarily forgotten.

What is the alternative?

To protect the soul by devolving into a peabrain creature where every moment occurs as if for the first time? No memory. No regrets. It is very Zen but gives no option but Zen. The price? There are also no happy beings residing in the brain to give comfort during periods of distress.

I prefer to tightly hold onto my memories. They have the power to bring happiness, the magic to conjure unadulterated joy out of emptiness. Some thing out of no thing. We can relive the smiling face of a loved one years after the corporeal crumbled to dust. The ability to fall deeper and deeper in love with the angel met for dinner at an ethnic restaurant on a warm Spring day.

They, memories, both wound and heal. Where they wound, we have the choice to turn them into a force for learning and character building. When they heal we rejoice. They are both worse than bullets and better than ecstasy. It is cruel and compassionate.

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