Lost and Found

A few weeks back I told a funny story about passing an embarrassing membership card around the table while meeting my family at McAlister’s, which ended with me quickly tossing the card into the trash as I waited outside.

As you can likely assume from me bringing the topic back around, that last bit never happened. While again searching for a gift card, I found it still tucked inside my wallet.

It’s not that I lied to you; I was right there with you in believing this story. I remember that moment clearly, standing outside as I considered tossing the card away. But now I’ll never know the truth of this story. Did I simply consider the option so heavily that my mind blurred the actual event with what I chose not to do? Or, even worse, did I accidentally toss a more valuable card away?

This is the inherent issue of writing about the past; memories can form irrespective of the true events. The big picture is there but the little pieces can be as elusive as dreams. We never question these details, not until something pops up to contradict your past.

But if so much of us is dictated by our past, does that mean our entire identity is this fragile, malleable thing? That we could build up a part of who we are over mere possibilities?

Not only that, but our memories can change as swiftly as our moods. I could tell you the same story four times and tell you something different each time. It’s not that I’m lying – but certain truths only exist in certain mindsets. As much as we linger on the past, our memories are a present construction. The things I choose to share, those that carry weight, are simply being recalled. There’s no past without a present to make sense of it all.

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