How do we store our memories? How do we preserve those moments we would wish to keep forever? It’s a question that has been around for a long time.
Today, 6th August is the day when the church remembers the transfiguration, the story of Jesus, with Peter and James and John going up a mountain where Jesus is suddenly bathed in dazzling light and Moses and Elijah appear, talking with him. Peter wants to hold on to this magical moment and says that he build three shelters, one for Jesus, one for Moses and one for Elijah. It is a touchingly human moment, the attempt just to hold on to a special moment.
There was a Sunday morning, perhaps fifteen years ago, when we asked the question in church, how do we hold on to the special moments?
Our Junior Choir sang three songs: one based on Psalm 150, a spiritual about God’s angels watching over each person, and an unlikely song for a church service, Who will buy? from Lionel Bart’s musical Oliver.
Having heard it on television over many years it was only when listening to it that there was a realisation that the song that expresses the very sentiments felt by Peter as he stood on the mountainside, expresses the feelings we all have when something special has happened.
Who will buy
This wonderful morning?
Such a sky
You never did see!
Who will tie
It up with a ribbon
And put it in a box for me?
So I could see it at my leisure
Whenever things go wrong
And I would keep it as a treasure
To last my whole life long.
Who will buy
This wonderful feeling?
I’m so high
I swear I could fly.
Me, oh my!
I don’t want to lose it
So what am I to do
To keep the sky so blue?
There must be someone who will buy. . .
At that service, I had asked the congregation about what things we did to preserve special moments, there had been numerous suggestions; photographs, video, postcards, diaries, all the expected thing featured. But one boy told me he kept a memory box into which he placed special things, his first Game Boy, photographs of special occasions, things that were special to him. His mum died a few years later, still a young woman, the memory box must have assumed a significance no-one could ever have anticipated.
At the time, I thought a memory box wouldn’t be a bad idea for most people and wondered what I would have put into mine if I had kept one. The years have passed, and the question has never been answered.