When my youngest sister was five, and I was thirteen, I taught her to speak a couple of French phrases one Fall afternoon. I distinctly remember it because it was such a cozy scene, she and I cuddled in her little bed and hearing her say, “Ma crayon est rouge,” in the sweetest little-kid accent. It felt like a perfect moment, so I did something that was not uncommon for me at the time. I imagined myself standing in the doorway of her bedroom and took a mental picture of us to tuck away for later. I still have it.
I’m a pretty sentimental person, and memories mean a lot to me. I contemplate, remember, ruminate, and reflect likely more than the average person. I have albums of pictures and short videos stored in my mind. So, when I came across this phrase recently, it made me want to learn more about its origins.
May her memory be a blessing.
I saw it while scanning online, and learned that it is an honorific used in Judaism when naming or speaking of the dead. I love it. Like the amount of time I spend remembering, I think about how I’ll be remembered probably more often than the average person. Maybe it’s my dark Irish sensibility, or too many tragically romantic movies, or so much time in church seeing my life with a long view through God’s eyes, but my view is that each life is a book with many chapters, an epic movie with a dramatic arc. We watch most lives from a distance, but I am convinced that if we saw the inner workings of each mind, the struggles and challenges and victories that are hidden in each heart, I’m certain that each life would make an amazing movie that we would all line up to see.
I have no idea what chapter I’m on in my own book, but I know there’s plenty of material for a movie already. It will be made of grace and selfishness, heartfelt love and beauty and pain, laughter and transcendence and deep sorrow, questioning and faith. There are plenty of light moments, too, and the wardrobe alone is, at times, hilarious. The soundtrack is seriously amazing and varied…I am super proud of it. There is a strong, consistent theme that winds its way through the whole thing. But at this stage, it’s not a complete movie. I only know about my own perspective, and I don’t get to see all of the other material that’s out there. I sometimes wonder if it would be a blessing or a curse to know the place I hold, if any, in the minds of those around me, the impression I’ve made, the legacy I’m leaving. In the end, I guess I’m just hoping for a good edit, a favorable review, more beauty than not, a memory that is a blessing.