I cleaned out my Memory Box the other night, and it was an interesting experience.
The Box itself isn’t anything special – just a medium-sized Rubbermaid container with a lid. Inside, however, are so many special things. For example, I’ve saved every card my husband has ever given me. I also have every diploma cover I’ve ever earned, my Star Trek: The Next Generation action figures, my grandmother’s felt “letter” from college (I presume it was supposed to be for a letter sweater, but she never had it sewn onto anything), some cassettes that I couldn’t bear to part with (even though I have the same albums on CD now), a bunch of ticket stubs, and a whole bunch of other things. Most (if not all) of the items do not hold much in the way of financial worth, but they are all special to me for one reason or another – reminders of people I’ve loved, places I’ve been, and the people I used to be.
I cleaned the Box out the other night because when I tried to add something, the lid wouldn’t close anymore. I hoped that simply rearranging the contents would allow everything to fit, but when I emptied the box and began repacking it, I discovered several things that no longer seemed worthy of “The Box.” It wasn’t that they had no value, but it seemed to me that they (and I) would be better served stored elsewhere. For example, a binder full of sheet music would be much more useful stored with other binders, even though that particular binder did trigger some special memories for me.
The most disturbing thing was the item that held no memories. I found a small stuffed bear that I could not remember ever seeing before. As a memorable item, it did absolutely no good whatsoever. It made me feel an odd sense of loss; at one time, it had clearly held quite a lot of meaning, since I had deemed it worthy of “The Box,” but whatever meaning it had held is lost in the mists of my personal history.
All in all, it felt good to clean out “The Box” and remember who I have been. By remembering who I was, I am also reminded of how far I have come, how much I have changed, and how much I have grown. Sometimes I feel that I am not making much progress in my life’s journey, but a short trip through my Memory Box has shown me that I have done a lot more than I think.