Monday, July 15, 2013

The Past is Our Wealth

We can make money, invest them and create wealth, material wealth. But such wealth are destroyable and can be stolen. The only wealth that is uniquely personal and cannot be stolen but can be destroyed and lost is our past. Many people do not appreciate their pasts. They think of what use is it since it is like a piece of paper, used and no longer recyclable. They find it a waste of time to dwell in the past. Time is to be spent for now and the future. The past is history and useless. I disagree.

No one can change what is past. It has been etched in the record of time and cannot be undone. Each of us possess a unique past that belong to only one owner. You. When I realize how precious and special my past is, just as I am irreplaceable and special, so is my past. It belongs to me and even though I share it, it cannot be replicated nor removed to become someone else's past. Unlike physical wealth you cannot repossess what is uniquely mine.

Each time I look at my grandchildren and watches each one grow, from a helpless and speechless infant who has no past, into a child with personalities and characters of their own, I am awed by the fact that each of them is creating and accumulating their past wealth. And I want to be part of their wealth. I know that each time I invest my own knowledge and experience by sharing them with my family I become part of their wealth of their past. You may be more familiar with the word, memory. It is our bank of past knowledge and experiences. Drawing upon it doesn't deplete it. In fact it refreshes it and keep its account active and not dormant. Not revisiting our memory risk it being shut down and permanently lost.

I am a fervent believer and practitioner of memory creation. I know without memory we lose our beacon of life. Where did we come from? Why are we the way we are? What should we do? Only our memories can guide us to think and decide rationally. That is why a baby cannot think because she has no usable memory to guide her in making decisions. Parents input their values and guide them.

We are living in the age of sharing. Electronic communication expedites the process. Social networking overtakes all other forms of contributing to each other's memory wealth. For what we learn and accept becomes ours and they define our evolving values and character.

When we were young we didn't know the usefulness of what we picked up that become our past wealth. We call it choices today. Most of the time we fumbled along, making mistakes, learning from them, getting wiser and become more selective in who we want to befriend, what we want to learn and what values we trust in. I am who I am, like God describes Himself when enquired by Moses.

As a teenager I marveled at the observation that no one can live in my body but me, although I had occasionally wanted to live in the body of someone I admire, a singer, a hero or a handsome person. I gradually realized there is only one me although many may share my name. But I alone am born the son of my father and my mother. I alone am uniquely created by my God.

People always say this: you cannot take what you own when you die. I disagree. I can certainly take away my past and my memory. They may be shared with you but you don't have first hand knowledge nor feeling of how it felt. My past will intertwine with your memories and hopefully it build you. One day I shall go away, for good. But I go with the great and good hope that I've done some good in the lives of those who have encountered me, no matter how brief.

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