Disobey is my middle name. I wasn’t born to follow inane laws and trifling regualtions. I was born for love, passion, and creativity. I hated the institution of school, yet I really loved learning. So I bunked off, or as we say here, I wagged most of my upper school. Mental health days too were importnat in my early work life. I wasn’t keen on the institution of the church either (which is deeply ironic), but I subverted that at every turn and still do when opportunity arises to be creative with it. I couldn’t tolerate School Army Cadets, I couldn’t take it seriously and they were glad when I left. I did love Scouts, but hated the constrained process, I lasted the longest there and learned a lot, but in the end I left because I really couldn’t sing national anthems or dib, dib as we were supposed to say. My mother was always horrified that I would break rules in general ( I still do) like parking the wrong way round or worse, much worse (a tale for another time). Street racing in Perth in 70s, such fun! Life is not monochromatic, it is not cookie cutter sameness, it is not doormat living, or institutional slavery. Life is authenticity, honouring the inner being, the inner child too, and our creative bent. Just be, and if that means disobeying from time to time, then do, it’s good for the soul.
When I was in primary school poetry and times tables had to be memorized, tests and assesments of memory were to be had. Every Friday there was an oral times table test for the whole class, and poetry had to be presented each term. ‘My Country’ was one poem I enjoyed memorizing. Another was Coleridge’s ‘The Ryme of the Ancient Mariner.’ Sunday School brought memory verses and nativity plays to memorize. Scouts brought a whole range of memorizing from the national anthem to knot formations.
But as I have aged it is less important to memorize things like numbers and poetry, knots or scripts (with the exception of the ubiquitous password). The things I have treasured and committed to memory without even trying are moments with people. As we approach Fathers Day in Australia I am particularly conscious of the hole my late father left when he died the age I am about to become. But, that hole is somehow whole through memory, or re-membering, the putting him back together.
He was a simple man, a coal miner who struggled in school, survived the blitz, he had his hopes and dreams, wife and children, a home. But he was also a frustrated man, an angry man, and many times his fists formed what he thought of the world and spoke directly to each one of us. And yet amidst the terror of physical threat, there were times of joy, celebration, play, holidays, excitement. Memories are what they are.
They were the best of days and the worst too, but I am glad I have my memories of dad to treasure, and ponder, to reflect on for myself. For me, memorizing moments and people are about my wholeness, my path, and I am glad to walk with them.