By Charles Towne                        

MEMORY: Something remembered from the past; a recollection; the mental faculty of retaining and recalling past experiences. (Webster)

Memories are funny things.

There are good memories, lots of good memories in a lifetime that we love to recall, retell, and long to relive… at least in our heads. And there are not-so-good memories, the ones that would best be forgotten. (Except, people being people with their own stash of memories, tend to remember things about you that you wish they didn’t!)

And then there are those memories that nobody wants. Like this pandemic. This is a memory nobody is going to look back on with fondness. Quite the opposite. In regards to this damnable thing that is dragging its slimy presence through our streets, we will wish that our forgetter was better than our rememberer.

But, even though this memory won’t likely be a good one, we learn from our memories… don’t we? And the learning affects the kind of memories we’ll make going forward, and therefore affect what we will remember after… that will then look different than the memories we would have had, before…if we hadn’t learned from the first set of memories. (Confused yet?)

Memories affect everything!

When you think about it… I mean, when you get right down to it… life is made up of memories. And if that is the case… if so much is built on our memories, good and bad… I’ve gotta ask:

What the dickens are memories made of?!

Are they made of the stuff of clouds?  Nah, I don’t reckon that could be the case. But just what are they?  What sort of molecules are memories made of?  And if not molecules, then what?

We are told that everything is made of molecules, even gas. But how can that be?  I can see you, and yet I can’t see a molecule. And if I can’t see a molecule, I shouldn’t be able to see you… right?  But I CAN see you… I think… maybe…?

Maybe they are composed of a mysterious, noncombustible gas. Which would be a good thing, the noncombustible part especially. Otherwise you might be sitting there in the restaurant with your spouse, peacefully eating dinner when, KABOOM! You have a memory and your head explodes.  Embarrassing, right?! Not to mention fatal. Definitely noncombustible gas.

Some memories are wild, some are domesticated, but none are housebroken. They are all apt to make a mess now and then, because no two people look at any memory in the same way… which can get you into trouble.

Maybe memories are more like monkeys, now that I think of it. Monkeys that don’t like to be caged.

Many years ago a monkey moved into my mother’s house.  It was just one of your generic, nondescript monkeys… until the day it went stark-raving-bonkers-crazy MAD and evicted mama and two of my sibs from the house! The sheriff was called and the monkey – that cute berserk monkey – went to wherever it is berserk monkeys go when the sheriff is called… and peace finally reigned again.

There are times when the monkeys of our minds – our thoughts – run amok and cause us all sort of problems. Like monkeys on the loose. Especially the kind of monkey-thoughts we really wish weren’t there at all. Like those ugly, unwanted memories that destroy our self esteem and leave us feeling unworthy of love and feeling less than adequate. I reckon that may be the reason there is so much madness in the world. Monkey-memories getting out and wreaking havoc on us.

I wonder if maybe God knew this would happen sometimes.

Maybe that’s why He made sure some verses were penned to keep us focused on better truths, to help us make better memories… and therefore live better lives that we would want to remember. Verses that, like the good sheriff above who saved my mama, saves us too and allows peace to reign again. Verses like,

Psalms 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my mind be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.”

And Philippians 4:18 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

And throughout the Bible, our Papa God counters our mad monkey-thoughts with the truths of His heart, of His own thoughts and memories he has of us. Psalms 139 comes to mind (through these mysterious memories of mine) where it says He “knows” us (v1) and that we are “wonderfully made” (v14). John 3:16 says that he “loves” us. In Isaiah He calls us “precious” (43:4), and “treasured” (Deut 7:6), and says we are His “workmanship”, which is correctly translated as His “poem” (Eph. 2:10)! God’s poem!!

And even when we mess up and create monkey-memories of our own – sometimes by accident, and sometimes on purpose – you know the ones I’m talking about, the ones we live to regret when we remember them – even when we do this, our wonderful Papa God promises to forget them! He forgives us when we ask, and forgets them. Papa God, who can do anything with His memories, promises He will forget our sins, and more than that, He tells us that He will cast our sins… our mistakes, our goof-ups… into the depths of the sea, beyond even His recall, and remember them no more. That is wonderful, don’t you think?

Memories are funny things.

But with Papa God, even the mysterious, molecular, monkey-kind of memories can be transformed to some of the sweetest ones you’d ever wish to have.

Dear Papa God, thank you for creating us the way you have with rational thought (though some reading this may wonder about the whole rational thought thing, lol). Thank you for enabling us to believe in molecules, even though we can’t see them (I think that is called science-based faith, isn’t it?). Thank you Papa for giving us the ability to believe in your love, and your goodness, in your mercy, and healing power. Thank you for gifting us with the ability to see that same potential for goodness in your children… and… in ourselves too, even though it might take us a little more time to see what you see. Thank you Papa God, for all of it. In Jesus’ Holy name I ask it, Amen

Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.


  1. Thank God for memories. Yes, there are those mad-monkey versions that are best left repressed but you have to learn to take the good with the not so good. When one of those mad-monkey memories resurrects itself it may be just what is needed to keep from repeating a not so wise decision. I remember several conversations at my 50th high school reunion last year that began with “hey, do you remember when …” and oh what fun conversations ensued. Keep them coming Chuck and keep us thinking beyond ourselves. Stay safe my friend.

    • Mike, I am so very appreciative of you all. You keep me growing, and becoming better than I could ever be on my own. I like the idea of putting a name to those negative, destructive, debilitating, MAD MONKEY MEMORIES! None of us can achieve our full potential on our own, no, it takes all of us to make one of us to the fullness of perfection that Papa God calls us to. When I consider all of the comments, all of the responses, all of the constructive thought provoking ideas you all plant I am overwhelmed. God bless you all, Chaz

  2. Memories are encased in bubbles of emotions….high emotions related to good and bad (primarily trauma related), prevent the brain from letting go and processing. Thanks God for my memories wrapped in Love….my father, my grandparents…..will live in those memories for the rest of my days!

    • Hmm, “bubbles of emotions” I wonder NH? Could it be more than that? Some of us have very few good memories, far more mad monkey memories than are reasonable! Could it be that a loving God prevails and touches us and we respond and in the responding the mad monkeys are finally silenced so what we see is what God knows what that we need. Just a thought. Bless you, Chaz

  3. Mike McFadden makes a good point – mad-monkey memories are important. They prevent us from repeating “not so wise decisions.” Our Creator’s promises that you site are reassuring: Psalms 139 He “knows” us (v1) and that we are “wonderfully made” (v14). John 3:16 says that he “loves” us. In Isaiah He calls us “precious” (43:4), and “treasured” (Deut 7:6), and says we are His “workmanship”, which is correctly translated as His “poem” (Eph. 2:10)! God’s poem!! Only a weak and miserable parent will reject a child – our Creator divinely loves us. We are blessed creations.

  4. Wow, you guys make me wonder in your perception and wonderful grasp of the spiritual Judith. Our God is the maker, the creator, the I AM, of our lives and He is the master of order. The devil is already defeated in his plan of confusion and disorder. Thank you dear friends, and God bless you all, Chaz

  5. Wow Charlitos !!! Memories … You said that and it reminds me my childhood in my GrandPa’s Farms : riding horses, milking cows, playing w/pigs, in the pool even dressed cowboys and back to ride horses or the tractor … Everywhere as wilds boys !!!
    Memories is like albums that move you to those beautiful moments. Never come back again, But ARE OURS !!!
    GOD Bless YoU Little Bro !!!

  6. Oh Leonardo, those are all good memories! It is so wonderful that the farm is still as you knew it in the perfect eyes of your memories. How sweet is that? As a boy growing up on Grandpa’s farm those memories will always be with you. May Papa God always be with you and hold you close and comfort you my friend, Chaz

  7. Ahhhhh, yes, monkey memories are etched into everyone’s mind aren’t they? Somehow we shove them into the back of the closet and hope they stay put. We only want to cherish the best of thoughts. But, when we really let our mind wander we see how all memories make us into what we have become. Without all of them, we would just be a partial person.
    Let’s hold dear the fact that we have had opportunities to make memories throughout our lives…AND that we still have the capability to remember them.
    That in itself, is a true blessing.
    Thanks Chuck!
    God bless and protect us all.

  8. Dear CSG, YES, and it is an absolute fact that so often those ugly, vicious “Mad Monkey Memories” come awake at the most inopportune times, but as inconvenient as they may be we do learn from them don’t we? May God Bless you always, Chaz

  9. Herbert, my goal is to give all something to think about as well as bring pleasure o our troubled times. Bless you and yours always chaz

  10. Ah, my friend, I do love when you delve into science and/or philosophy! As a scientist you are an amazingly skilled nature writer!
    Let me begin, first everything is NOT made of molecules, only compound substances are, like water, steel,the smell of rotting eggs! I believe you meant atoms, but then, what are atoms made of? In the final analysis it is all made of energy and memory is tiny packets of energy called quanta, perceived by our senses and sent to our brains where the energy packets are encoded and stored in our neural cells for later retrieval. This marvelous system was designed by a power much greater than we can even imagine now!
    Second, the monkeys! I am sure you have heard about the room full of monkeys and typewriters eventually producing Shakespeare’s plays but that is a mathematical concept, your memory monkeys are a philosophical one! I believe there is truth in your construct but maybe of a different sort. Those destructive faces were put onto our memories by a force that wishes us nothing good. The evil one has spent millennia whispering in our ears until we unconsciously believe him. I think our best weapon here is faith and the certainty of God’s love for us. He sent his only son to die for us so we must be worth quite a bit!
    Sorry this is so long but I have been cooped up for a while now!
    Keep up the good work and may all the blessings of heaven be yours!

  11. Richard, my wise friend, my friend full of wise stuff, my wise and sort of clever buddy, I appreciate your exterpationarialy shallyburph and clever dissertation on the consternationarially constipation of spatial fragnamitionarially flim flammery in regards to whatever you stepped in. Remember, it is better fairly to be safe than sorry, I think, Chaz

  12. And this Richard is somethang we can dissertationally agree on with unequivocal and boliminous and farthingill of purloined fish bladders! The brillincillioncenenceimoneyessence of the moons thidshralldonminonce of relative agnocitimpounceness and some is beyond our ability to percieve as factimoniance and shillingtoniance to the unth degree of a purplegreen san could possibly, oh my do! Chaz

  13. During the last 50 years I remember taking care of a wife that all the doctors said could only live for about three more days! Instead she lived for an extra 50 more years, while all the doctors she had slowly died away. During those years of care-giving I remember most what it was like to make a friend of one special person! One that I will never forget and some day will met again in a place called Heaven. I think you know who I am remembering Chuck. God Bless You!

  14. Don, you are greatly blessed to have had that special time. I like that you referred to Betty as your “special” friend, because in truth that is what she was. The word tells us that ‘it is not good for man to be alone” Even thought we don’t have our wives with us now but that it is a temporary situation a blessed truth. Bless you my friend, Chaz


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