My father died in July 2016. In the ferment of that week, I somehow enabled a setting that captured all my voicemails as recordings. Though temporary, this took up a lot of space and so as a result, when space on my aging phone became an issue this summer*, I discovered this anomaly and had to go through and delete them. Because of the significance of that week, it felt important to listen to all of them and I did. None of the messages were particularly significant—and that was significant in its own way.
Listening to a week’s worth of the ordinary items of my days—yet removed by the span of a few years—I was able to feel the intricacy and involvement of my life in a way that I might miss at other times. The audio recordings were full of the bits and bytes of life—just small things which somehow grew in significance when removed by time and space.
Grocery lists. Calls from friends to whom I am still connected. Calls from others who have now died or who I am no longer have cause to exchange phone messages. Reminders about tasks such as doctor’s appointments or deadlines. Calls from some of the people who form the architecture of love and relationship in my life. Calls from people I can’t even remember why I know. Calls that made me grateful, anxious, joyful. These little audio snapshots were an unexpected blessing.
After listening to—and erasing—these little time-out-of-time remnants, I found that I was more attentive to all the small things which make up the fabric of our lives.