What memories are you making?

We made memories last weekend, way down in southern Alberta.  I took the laptop along with every intention of blogging.  I even opened it, logged in, and tried to write but nothing happened.  That's not entirely true.  There were words on the screen.  Paragraphs began, only to peter out.  Nothing felt important enough to write about.  My brain was just not making the connections I expected it to make.  No amount of coffee or privacy was helping.  I was worried I was missing out on memory making.

For roughly thirty-six hours, friends and family of Doug's Storm, gathered in Okotoks for the AB17 Ride to Conquer Cancer.  We were there to make memories with Doug and Lo and to support the team.  On Saturday, we split our time between standing in ditches cheering on riders and wandering the Millarville Market and buying a hook for the broom. It was a perfect Alberta summer day and the scenery was spectacular.  There were rolling hills in every direction.  The smokey haze from the BC fires kept the mountains hidden from view, but it wasn't bad enough to interfere with our day or our memory making.

Seventeen hundred riders were on the road on Saturday, peddling up those rolling hills.  One hill after the next.  Saturday evening, Doug thanked supporters for supporting and riders for riding.  He drew a parallel between the riders' experiences on the hills and his treatment when he just starts to feel better and then the chemo routine begins again.  I had spent the day thoroughly enjoying the view of the hills from the comfort of the truck or the stationary perspective of cheering in the ditch.  I hadn't ridden the hills.  I had not experienced the burning uphill climb or the exhilaration of the downhill, but I did gather a few memories.

On the way home, dodging the crazies on highway two, determined to arrive alive, we had a conversation about living and memory making.  Between us on the console, lay the hook we had bought at the market.  We decided it should be a memory hook, not just a broom hook.  It would become a place we could hook memories on.  Maybe we would laminate photos and sayings and hang them on the hook with the broom.  Somehow we wanted to make sure we remembered the abundance of good in the midst of everything else life served up.

Last week I needed to be reminded of the good as I watched the news and monitored social media, with a sense of absolute dread as hatred and bigotry flung open the doors behind which they had been barely hidden. We have a collective responsibility to shape the memory of our world, within our small corners.  Silence and avoidance are not options unless we are content to live in a world where violence, stupidity, and intolerance are acceptable.  Know that discrimination lives next door to you too, it isn't a problem limited to others who live far away.  We have it in our communities, in our workplaces, and in our churches - God help us.  It breeds when complacency sets in and erupts when given permission.  Speak loudly, speak clearly, speak often.  Let there be no mistake about your stand.  Do not engage in anger or in foolishness. Always speak in love, but please speak.

As we watched the riders pass us on the road, we chatted with total strangers in the ditch.  We had a common interest in the Ride, in fighting cancer through fundraising efforts, and in cheering others on.  Yes there were some jerks on the Ride, some who drafted others for kilometres but didn't take their turn leading.  But generally, it was a really good experience for all of us.  It was a tiny example of how we can come together to create a memory of something good which we can hang on our memory hook as inspiration to ride another day, to take chemo another day, to stand up for the vulnerable another day.   Now more than ever, the world needs you and I to offer an alternative, to be a presence of encouragement, inspiration, and inclusion.