Someone once said, “Live a life worth remembering.” I have a great appreciation for quotes of inspiration. I once use to read a newspaper every morning. I loved how the paper felt in my hands as I turned the pages. The smell of ink whiffed a fragrance into the air that made the words seem more impactful and worth reading. I don’t know who authored these specific words, but I am sure many minds and mouths have offered the concept down through the generational ears.
In the Greek Parresia παρρησία means to live a life worth remembering. The essence is to be of courage and confidence that improves one’s freedom of speech. If we are going to live lives worth remembering there is a challenge in being honest with one’s story and learning from the details of the events that impact the making of our character, sense of self, and soulful transformations because of the remembrances. Jesus once said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19) The story unfolds from his own pain and suffering, the reminder of the Sermon on the Mount, he lived his own life to show us how to live ours, he taught us to pray, he gave people hope in the miracles, he offered us the world as our neighbor, he gave us a mission to go forth and live as boldly as he did, and he offered teachings on love and faith. That is a well-defined life worth remembering.
I no longer hold a newspaper in my hands every day. But, I do still remember the rush of energy and efforts to turn pages and glean the stories of the day that are worth capturing to memory for the sake of civic mindedness, inspirational awareness, or learning something that improves my own life.
The past few weeks have been about hurricanes, remembering 9/11, an adult’s child’s birthday, a new birthday to remember of a new grandson, and the to do list of maintaining order in one’s own daily routine. Each of these items listed have personal significance to me and my family of loved ones. We have had hurricane damages of the past and presently. We have a loved one who survived 9/11, and my son now has a son celebrating birthdays not that far apart on the calendar. The past and the present are building upon the act of remembering. The act of remembering offers me the disposition of gratitude for each story, each person, and each opportunity of doing life with the people in my life.
When I remember stories of family members, travels, historical events, birthdays, and death dates I find I remember to be grateful for the privilege of being a witness to the remembrance of all of it. Maya Angelou reminds us that, “we are the sum total of everything we have ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgotten- it is all there. Everything influences us.”
Jesus reminds us/me to remember the value of our lives in being alive in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. There is a challenge to holy living and living wholly well with God, self, and others. But, I bet living out such a life would be a life filled with love, empathy, kindness, gratitude, hope, peace, perseverance, determination, forgiveness, positive power, self-control, humility, authenticity, and flavor. The kind of life worth remembering. The kind of life worth living.