You would think that as a journalism major, I would’ve learned by now to always carry a notebook and pen with me everywhere I go.
I see stories and words and ideas everywhere I turn, but often these thoughts are far from my mind by the time I am equipped to record them. I guess I could write things on my phone (like I am writing this column as a ride a bus to the airport), but I’m one of those people who still likes the feel of pen meeting paper.
Writing utensils aside, lately I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this idea of capturing moments and sharing what goes on in our lives.
Telling stories, showing pictures and sharing experiences with others seem to govern a large part of our interaction with others. Millions of people spend hours of their time scrolling through feeds and timelines to look at photographs and read stories of what happens in the world.
More than just consuming content, I’ve been thinking about why we all feel so compelled to share.
Long before Instagram asked us to capture the world’s moments and Facebook asked what’s on our minds, citizens of the world have been recording and documenting life as they know it. Time and technology have brought us through ages of hieroglyphics and printing presses, cave paintings and photographs in black and white and technicolor.
We’ve been telling stories and sharing for as long as anyone can remember.
We are wired for storytelling, we are made to remember where we come from as we move into where we are going.
Donald Miller said, “He captures memories because if he forgets them, it’s as though they didn’t happen.”
These words convict me and make me stop to consider why I want to share pictures and stories with others.
Many times, motives other than remembering dictate what gets posted. We hold in our hands the power to tell the stories that we will one day look back on to remember our lives. Otherwise, over the years, our stories fade like newspapers in the sun.
I often feel inadequately prepared for such a task of recording my life. Because seriously, most of the time – actually all of the time – my iPhone pictures cannot possible capture the sun coming over Christ Church meadow in all of its glory. I am not a good enough writer to describe the thickness of the fog clinging to Edinburgh Castle early in the morning. How could I possibly convey to someone else how Oxford lives and breathes?
I find myself falling into two different mindsets most often. First, I seek affirmation from sharing. I think that I have to post pictures and be clever so other people will like them and then I’ll feel cool or something weird like that. Second, I am lazy and forgetful. I don’t feel like getting my camera out or I think I’ll remember things later.
Thankfully, I have people like Donald Miller to reorient my ideals of what it actually means to share our lives with others. Miller’s words remind me to fight against the selfishness and forgetfulness and urge me to tell others of my tales so they too might remember where they’ve been.
Notebook and pen in hand, I can surely try to compile collections of words that we might one day flip through and remember the moments that make living so extraordinary.