Updated (?) History…

So… what if you could “update” your history… would you?

The photo above is a picture of a textbook of one of my niece’s children (thanks, Nathan, for sharing!).  The first thing that came to mind when I saw it is ‘what an oxymoron’ the title is… “Updated American History”… okay, so it’s either history or it’s not… I’m thinking you can’t, or shouldn’t, update something that happened hundreds of years ago… right?  As I thought about this, I wondered… what would the history of our country look like if we could update it?  Would we still have a “Statue of Liberty”?  Would we still be a country of independence?  Would we have 50 states?  And the list goes on.  Well back to the title of the book, it made me smile, but as you’ve come to know, it also made me think…

So… would you ‘update’ your history if you could?  Would you go back and change things?  Would your life look different, if you had the opportunity for a “do over”?  Of course, there are the obvious things… surely we’d change illnesses, and accidents, and tragedies, and deaths that have rocked the core of our souls.  But think for a moment about the everyday events of our lives – is there anything you’d change?  Would you have gone to college?  Chosen a different career?  Had more children?  Had less children?  Lived in a different part of the world?  Retired earlier?  Served in the military?  Traveled more?  The lists go on and on, and on… But think with me for a moment about the more important things of our life, and yes there are more important things.  Would you have been kinder?  Would you have chosen to be more joyful?  Would you have been more thankful?  Would you have spent more time with friends and family?  Would you have given more time to help others?  Would you have been less proud?  Less angry?  Less rude?  More encouraging?  More supportive?  More focused on making a positive difference in your world?  Yikes, that’s pretty direct, isn’t it?  Please know that I’m speaking to myself… if it touches your heart, all the better, but this was personal to me.  Well, the blessing is that, although we can’t “change our history”, we can make our future history look different.  How about it?  I’m going to choose to try my best to make the history that I leave behind one a legacy of a life well lived.  I’d love to hear your thoughts…

But there’s another side to this ‘coin’ of history… and that’s that we likely all have an opportunity to help someone document an important part of history… their legacy, their story, their history.  Do you know that most Veterans – those that gave time to protect our country’s freedom, our freedom – don’t share the memories of that time in their life?  My dad, a World War II Veteran, returned home to marry, have a family and to work to support us… he never, never talked about his military service… life just went on until a few weeks before he died… as a grandson visiting him in the hospital said, “Grandpa, tell me what it was like to be at Normandy Beach.”  And it poured out… memory upon memory upon memory.  Oh, that we would have taken time to ask those questions when we all would have had time to listen and to honor him.  Wouldn’t you like to know?  Wouldn’t you like to be sure that we never forget their sacrifice?  What about those who are living with Alzheimer’s disease… don’t you wish that you had taken the time to store up memories with them before they started to slide away?  Don’t you wish you could chat with them and bring smiles to their faces talking about those days from their distant past?  And how about those in your own life?  Don’t you wish you knew more about what life was like for your grandparents?  Your parents?  Don’t you want your children to know more about your growing up years?  Reminiscence… it’s how we ensure that the memories of the lives lived before us continue on to the benefit of those following behind.  Reminiscence… it’s taking the time with a pen and paper, or with a recorder… it’s taking the time to ask… it’s taking the time to listen.  Everyone – you, me and all those close to us – everyone has memories to share.  I’m going to get better at asking people I care about to share those memories with me… and I’m going to pass those memories on to others… will you join with me?  I’m going to get better at sharing my own memories – for example, as a teenager I had the privilege to travel with a singing group and offer concerts to audiences up and down the east coast and into Canada – what fun, what a great experience!  There are many more memories.  You have many memories.  Let’s share them.  Let’s ask others to share with us.  And together, we can assure that the generations that follow have a history… an updated history… thanks for listening… share with me something that you’d like to be a memory that others will have of you…

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