I think it was Tennessee Williams that said, “In memory everything seems to happen to music.” I could not agree more: Every good story needs a fitting soundtrack and our own private literature is no exception (thank you, Aldous, for this take on memory).
However, for me the main question I have been grappling with is not what I remember or why I remember, but rather how I remember… Dietrich Bonhoeffer said that gratitude changes the pangs of memory into a tranquil joy. I love the way he formulates it. I often experience memory as a pang – an emotional, intellectual and even physical response to time as it flows through my fingers.
Bonhoeffer’s emphasis on the transformative effect of gratitude challenges me to give thanks as I live in remembrance of things past. G.K. Chesterton also says it beautifully: “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”