I use a lot of colorful sticky notes to remind me of things I need to do. Or to present someone’s brilliant quote. Or to display a key word or number. It seems almost like an affliction for me, relying on these little missives to spark action within me.
On second thought, maybe I should not relegate these little memory cues to an unfortunate condition. I find them encouraging, motivating and inspiring. Not in the same affecting way that photographs, scents, comforts and experiences move me, but in a manner of prompting knowledge and will into service.
Yes, accessing my “memory bank” occurs constantly, routinely and surreptitiously. And I realize it is “there” in that place where creativity blooms like stunning blue forget-me-nots in a secret garden.
Augustine wrote of “mansions of memory” and images in our minds that we may magnify, diminish or alter based on the information our senses report. He wrote of “sojourning there” to his memory and commanding certain “things” to emerge from remote crannies – sometimes easily and sometimes not. He marveled at the faculty of memory, its infinite complexity and awesome mystery – a gift from God.
In remembering, I think we ascend to God, recounting our journey, our missteps and progress, transforming these mind-messages into the present moment. Surely memories of our life and experiences conjure our senses for a reason?
Whether obtrusive little squares of paper adhering to my monitor, photos from last year’s vacation, or special family mementos, all these memories infuse me, once again, with what I saw, heard, tasted, smelled or touched.
If for no other reason, sojourning in my memory mansion sparks awareness, reflection, creativity and love.
Looking at the origin and history of words can be a fascinating way to ponder reality. Do the words we choose and use represent what we really want to convey? Of course, language evolves and often it seems like words fly out of mouths, or flow as fast as letters are typed on a keyboard without much thought to their effect – or the lasting digital imprint.
There is always much ado about content! People desire to be heard, get a point across, and promote new messages, but quite possibly at the expense of context.
Even though I know the meaning of both words – content and context – I looked them up. I learned their Latin origins and found new insight.
Content comes from contentum which means “things contained.” Context comes con (together) and texere (to weave).
This is where pondering reality comes in.
It can be easy to miss the mark in providing excellent context. I know in casual conversation and in writing, I can forget to frame content with consideration for heart and soul. Now, I have a renewed since of mission on this. What a little etymology can do. I want my “things contained” to be woven together honoring the intrinsic values that are necessary for meaningful interpretation.
Context powers understanding.
All this makes me think of a St. Francis of Assisi quote who yearned to bring context — if not purpose – to the work of fellow friars in the 13th century. He said, “We have been called to heal wounds, to unite what has fallen apart, and to bring home those who have lost their way.” Words, too, can heal, unite and bring home those who have lost their way. Good context offers a bigger picture.
Lynette Magnino As a free lance writer for almost 20 years and a communications professional within corporate and non-profit environments for the better part of 35 years, I put words to paper, tell stories and convey messages. Feature stories, press releases, brochures, newsletters, scripts, proposals, business plans and many other creative media represent the breadth of my "product" provided for healthcare services, educational systems, boards and associations, and faith/ministry organizations.