Take a moment and think about your best friend, or several good friends. Can you remember when you first met? Was that meeting memorable? How was it different than meeting any of the hundreds or thousands of people you’ve met since then?
More likely than not, meeting your best friend, or whoever we’re thinking about here, was just like meeting anyone else: nothing special. Perhaps you were introduced through another friend, bumped into each other at school, or maybe he/she punched you in the face.
The memories I have of my best friends are there, but faded. Best childhood friend: my dad took me over to his house shortly after he moved in to meet him and his family. I think I was 5 years old. There were lots of unpacked boxes in his room and all over their house. We might have played with legos. That’s about all I remember. Two friends I’ve had for 14+ years now were public enemies number 1 and 2. I couldn’t stand them, and I’m pretty sure their feelings towards me were pretty hostile, too. Of course, looking back, I have no idea why we didn’t get along. Maybe we did the first time we met? No idea. That’s not the point though.
The point is, when I look back on those first meetings, I remember very little about what actually happened. What I do remember is the outcome. I think of how it is now. Looking at those first meetings from the perspective of someone living in that same time period, nothing special happened. Looking at it from 2008, it’s quite different.
The poem is a good example. For the most splendid line becomes fully splendid only by means of all the lines after it; if you went back to it you would find it less splendid than you thought. - Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis
Perhaps you’re married. Think of the first date with your spouse. Was it that different from any other date you may have been on? Probably not. But you remember it with fondness because of what your relationship has become.
People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it's more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey... stuff. - The Tenth Doctor, Doctor Who (British sci-fi TV show), in the episode "Blink"
To think of our experiences, all the people we’ve met, everyone we really know, as being part of some time line places a brick wall between us and who we are. We aren’t on some time line. Well, perhaps we are, but I don’t see it that way. I see it like this: today is the only day there is. There is no tomorrow, there is no yesterday. There is only today. All our experiences fill our life, our today. That doesn’t mean we can’t correct mistakes; it makes correcting mistakes possible. You don’t have to change the past. You can’t change it, because it doesn’t exist. The only thing you can change is what is actually real: yourself.
A pleasure is full grown only when it is remembered. You are speaking, [Human], as if the pleasure were one thing and the memory another. It is all one thing. ... What you call remembering is the last part of the pleasure, as the crah is the last part of a poem. When you and I met, the meeting was over very shortly, it was nothing. Now it is growing something as we remember it. But still we know very little about it. What it will be when I remember it as I lie down to die, what it makes in me all my days till then--that is the real meeting. The other is only the beginning of it. - Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis
When you reflect on what we call the past, when you remember pleasures gone by, do not wish you could go back. Remembering pleasures is what makes the pleasure full. It makes it real.
And how could we endure to live and let time pass if we were always crying for one day or one year to come back--if we did not know that every day in a life fills the whole life with expectation and memory and that these are that day? - Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis (emphasis added)