Friday, July 17, 2009

Oops. One Giant Misstep for Mankind

"We searched for the tapes everywhere," NASA engineer Richard Nafzger said in an interview with the Associated Press. Don't you feel for the poor schlemiel who erased, not the first steps of little Johnny across the living room, but the historic first steps of Neil Armstrong on the moon?

But of course we've all done that, at some point. In the old days, all it took was opening the back of the camera at an inopportune time. (those of you with an all-digital memory, please find some older person and ask them to reminisce about the small square do-hickey with four little bulbs called a 'flash.') All it takes now is one mishandled download, and four hundred precious pics from Hannah's Chuckee Cheese party are gone in a flash. What's a guy to do?

Turn to the magic of Hollywood, of course. For a mere $230,000 the same geniuses that restored Star Wars intergalactic luster have restored the footage of the moonwalk. Where were they when I needed them?

But it made me think...why is it I always forget the important stuff, but fill my memory with inconsequential clutter? How exactly would Richard Nafzger feel if the world discovered he had taped over the moon landing to make room for some quality Hee Haw episodes?

But in effect, that's what I do. I cram my digital databank with memories of slights from days gone by, people who have wounded me, intentionally or not. I recall missed opportunities with continued pain, beat myself up with failures and mistakes. In short, I remember all the snapshots of pain and shame with crystal clear precision.

But what about the really important stuff? Times I served others? Times God stepped in with complete grace and saved the day? Family and friends and the thousand precious moments that should last forever in my memory, but don't. Those are the things I should remember. How about you, what should you be remembering? How about a few things you need to forget?

A "Precious Moment" from Easter 2004

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