My sister made me think of something the other day, about how so many events that have occurred in our histories are now housed only in our own heads and probably not even in the heads of the other people who helped execute said events in the first place.
The specific memory I conjured up to evoke this revelation was one from when I was working at Dairy Queen. This really sweet, larger-than-life, very outgoing father brought his little girl in for a cookie dough blizzard. And shy little miss didn’t know what size she wanted, so Dad sized up the medium cup with his hands, then put his hands up to his little girl (they spanned her entire torso) and said, “Yep, that’ll fit! Get us a medium.”
It was so endearingly sweet. I don’t know if either Dad or Daughter remembers this event even occurring. But I do. How many interactions have I been an outside witness to, I wonder, of which I am now the only mental bearer? Is it a lot? How many, exactly?
I also wonder about events I’ve taken part in. I often re-meet people who don’t recognize me. I used to be quite bothered by this as a kid, when I knew other kids’ full names and birthdays and all sorts of things about them and they barely knew I was in a class with them the previous year. I’ve taken to being very laissez-faire about first greetings so that later I can also be a person who doesn’t recognize people, probably because I equate this with being cool and popular.
But events, too, I wonder about events. Like the time I answered a question correctly in my sixth-grade math class and had to come up to the front to get a piece of candy (yes, they were still rewarding eleven-year-olds with candy in our wildly underachieving school system) and this boy I perpetually wanted to impress (but not in a romantic way because I didn’t know what that meant yet in sixth grade) put his hand out for a high-five, and I slapped his hand and he said, “No, I wanted your candy,” and I was absolutely mortified in his presence for the rest of the school year. I wonder if he remembers that.
Hey, you know what I just realized? I don’t remember that kid’s first name! Score one for me!
I think about these kinds of things all the time – events and memories and what they all mean – and I have all sorts of questions for God about them, and I hope that someday I get to find out the answers. You know you are a pedant when your idea of Heaven is God sitting you down and promising to stay with you as long as you require to have all your questions about your life answered, like how many breakfasts you ended up eating or whether that boy ever thought of you again or when was the exact moment you first saw a panther. Is this too much to ask?