BOOKMARKS. I've bought them and received them as gifts. Some bear a special phrase, sentiment or an initial in gold. Some are fancy, while others are simple. They come in all shapes and sizes.
Bookmarks serve a purpose. They mark a passage without damaging the book like we do when we turn down a corner of the page. They remind us where we are and what we want to come back to — either to take up where we left off or to go back to something we want to revisit.
Last week, my friend Jenny loaned me a book to read with a piece of green grosgrain ribbon inside to mark my place. There was something about the way the ribbon laid flat, did not fall out and at the same time reminded me of our friendship, that made that bookmark special. After finishing the book, I told Jenny I was ready to return it, but asked if I could keep the ribbon.
Not only did she agree to let me keep that green ribbon, the next afternoon I found a sack in my mail box full of more ribbons — different colors, different lengths, different widths — to mark the many pages yet to be read - chosen and cut especially for me by a friend.
Over dinner later in the week, she and I talked about bookmarks, and we recalled the many times we have read a passage in a book and thought we wanted to be sure and remember it — and then, of course, the book is finished and laid aside and the passage is forgotten.
Then our conversation quickly moved from ribbons that mark pages to the bookmarks that are important for marking life experiences. For example, Jenny says, like pages in a book, anniversaries are important because they indicate something we don’t want to forget and perhaps should not forget.
We revisit a memory to recall a warm feeling, a lesson we learned, an experience of being loved, a second of absolute awe or maybe to relish a moment of laughter when we laughed until tears ran down our faces.
We revisit an experience to remember a happy moment like a wedding or a birth. We revisit a gravesite to remember a loved one who died. We revisit a memorial to remember 4/19/95 – the Oklahoma City bombing of the Murrah Federal Building or 9/11/01 – the airplanes crashing into New York City’s twin towers.
I remember reading the newspaper story about Carolyne Duncan’s seventh-grade students from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, who sent quilts they had made to the children of 9/11 victims.
I visited again the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. The opening words of the mission statement of the Oklahoma City National Memorial says, “We come here to remember.”
Remembering is important. Find a way to mark it.