(Note: As the new school year is starting and a lot of little different nuances are causing big changes in my life, I've been thinking a lot about the past, the present, and the future--how they are all connected, both in my individual life and the eternal scheme of things, and how they shape me and how I shape and perceive them. This is a combination of parts of my journal, written on my first day in London, particularly class and Westminster Abbey)
How do I make history? how do I make memory? The past is plastic--you change it, remake it. What is my concept of history? How do I make it? I'm not sure what my concept of the past is, how I fit into it. I think about it and reflect on memories a lot, almost living in the past. Especially if it's a good momentl I want to remember it forever, so I keep thinking about it so I don't forget. Perhaps thinking about history means I don't live in the present, but because I'm a product of my past, it's a part of me and I can't really help it. The past influences the present, whether I want it to or not and so remembering it almost helps me embrace today more--I want to redeem myself or make more wonderful memories.
Brother Merrill always used to say that to god, it's not that there is no time, it's just circular and He's in the middle. Everything is happening at once and He can see it all. The first time I thought about that, it confused the crap out of me. but it's making so much more sense.
I think the main thing I make memory out of is emotion, then sight and/or writing. I take events as the outline and fill them in with what I felt and saw and thought. But then again, other memories have different associations. When I think of piano, I feel the keys under my fingers and know music is coming out, but what the music is in my memory depends on what is happening in the present. I think about the stage and I feel the battery pack on my bra strap, am blinded by invisible lights of the past, and have the overwhelming urge to sing. My memories of the past almost take over the feelings of the present. So they shape each other--the present and future changing the past and the past influencing the present and future.
"You don't know history until time is past." -Rick. Even tangible history is revised as time goes on, because you don't know necessarily know who will live on and whose memory will disappear. They may seem unimportant at the time and then live on, or vice-versa. It's like that line from "Wonderful" in Wicked that becomes more and more true as time goes on:
A man's called a traitor or liberator;
A rich man's a thief or philanthropist.
Is one a crusader or ruthless invader?
It's all in which label is able to persist
Westminster Abbey is tangible history. But if that is so, what happens when some graves get worn down and are blank after years of wear? Are they forgotten to history?
I love Poet's Corner. It's a chance to say "thank you" to Eliot and Dickens and the like for those whose graves I haven't seen yet. It's just phenomenal that so many great people are buried or remembered here. I don't want to rub out any names because they should be remembered. Their books live on, though, their music, their poems and words. I just want to leave a copy of Middlemarch with a rose and a Thank You note on George Eliot's memorial. And Charles Dickens' grave. And Handel. And all of them. They are truly great followers of God. And their works bring me closer to Him (and them) and change me and make me a better person. Their works will continue to bear their testimonies through the world forever. Theirs were voices that will echo through time and proclaim the truth of the Savior and His Atonement. These people truly left their mark on me. Their present, although technically the past, is my present. Their future, mine.
The Grave of the Unknown Warrior says, he "gave the most that man can give, Life itself for God, for King and country, for loved ones home and empire, for the sacred cause of justives and freedom of the world. They buried him among the kings because he had done good toward God and toward his house . . . unknown and yet well known . . . the Lord knoweth them that are His." Although his name and specific actions are forgotten to mankind, his sacrifice is not forgotten. Even if his individuality is lost to time, his imprint is still left upon the world. And God never forgets. He knows. He saw it happen, He sees it happen, He is watching it happen, and He will continue to see. Time is one continual round and cycle, reshaping itself, being reshaped by those who are remembering it, living it, planning it. How does history affect me? And how do I affect it?