A short reflection on Remembrance

An hour or two ago I was at an exercise class at my local leisure centre. ‘Legs, bums and tums.’ The sort of class I’ve avoided for several decades but I’m now hitting that point in life where I think it may be just what I need.

It’s been a rough-ish couple of weeks at home. One member of the family was taken ill and spent most of a week in hospital with a mystery infection – out now but still convalescing. Other parts of life have been fairly demanding. I am trying to find my way back to some sort of routine after the disruption of events and exercising is part of that.

I’d not had a great morning before going. Due to illness we had disappointingly had to cancel plans for a great night out. I couldn’t focus on the work I had to do. It’s a time of year when unwanted memories crowd my mind, making it hard to stay present.

I showed up slightly late for the exercise class and got going. It was in the middle of our pole dancing section (yes really – I was as surprised as you are), when the music suddenly stopped. After a moment the instructor realised it was 11am and time for us to observe the 2 minute silence for Armistice Day. I’ve taken part in that act of rememberance many times but today’s was undoubtedly the oddest setting for it. There we were, a group of 25 lycra clad men and women, standing solemnly holding on to our poles. So I looked down at the floor and thought about remembering. What was it we should be thinking about ? Unfortunately I hadn’t read any of the articles I’ve seen popping up on social media over the past few days on ‘What to think about during the two minute silence’ so I had to wing it.

Bravery and courage.

Acts of integrity and humanity.

Noble sacrifice.

Dignity.

Loss.

That’s what I wanted to remember in those two minutes. And as I thought about those qualities and characteristics I realised that I spend so much of my time remembering things that are not good. I remember the things I wish I hadn’t done. The things I wish others hadn’t done. The mistakes, the hurts, the injustices the pain. And in remembering those things my mind sets off on a downhill journey bringing my emotions along for company.

But I don’t want my memory to keep focusing on those things. My Mum used to always say to us as children , ‘whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.’ She still says it now. I used to think it was pious and annoying, but actually it seems like good life advice.

Today is a chance to remember courage, bravery, loyalty. Excellent, praiseworthy things.

Tomorrow is also a chance to remember those things.

And every day after that too.

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