Posts Tagged ‘memory’

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It’s funny what will trigger a memory. It could be a sight, a smell or a sound. Just this morning I came out and saw my son watching television and it took me back about 10 years when he was just a pint-sized three.

Almost every Saturday when he was small, he would wake up with his then blond hair tousled from sleep, pad out to the kitchen in his Dinseyfied pajamas and we’d have breakfast. Then we’d sit up in my bed in the middle of a pile of pillows and I’d turn the television on. He’d watch now defunct Disney shows like Bear in The Big Blue House and Rolie Polie Olie, while I sat next to him and flipped through catalogues and magazines.

It was one of those memories that I’ll never forget and if I ask him, he remembers those mornings too.

As I rested in that memory this morning, I realized it was a very real picture of abiding with someone because sometimes abiding with someone is just a state of being with them, connected to them in an undeniable way that goes beyond the work we all seem to think it is and getting to the point where we just are together.

The LORD paints a wonderful picture of this when He talks about the vine and the branches. Do the branches question the vine? Do they work to be attached to it? Do they do very much but trust and rest in the source of their nutrients and their life?

The answer to all those questions and more is ‘no, they don’t’ all they do is allow themselves to be grafted into the vine, take sustenance from the vine from which they grow and then the vine takes over, doing the rest of the work. In essence, they get to the point where they’re not fighting to grow their own way and the grafting in process is done, so they just rest in vine.

If only we could all get to that point of being with the LORD, to that place where we just are with Him in the way that He promises we can be if we truly abide in Him.

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

John 15:4

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The site of Henry David Thoreau's cabin marked...

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Our memories are strange things. We get so caught up in our daily living, and our future lives, that a lot of us tend to either bury the past as if it never happened or just conveniently overlook it, treating it as if it didn’t exist because in the present it doesn’t.

Although for some people I think this trying to escape the past by forgetting it is just that, escape, for others it’s because we’re just really bad at remembering. It’s like our brains can only hold so much information at one time and everything else past, present and future just falls out if it doesn’t fit with what’s going on right now.

The other day my son and I had a disagreement over a long past trip to Disneyland. He was only about 3½ years old when he first went and about 4½ years old the second time he went. Even though he has an amazing memory ( he actually remembers things from when  he was 1 and 2) he argued with me that the first time we went was when he was 4. I had to pull out the old photograph albums to show him that yes he had actually gone earlier than he thought.

When he saw the photographs he did remember some parts of that trip. And, it occurred to me that the photographs were a little like small memorials to the trip and every time we saw them we would remember.

Every once in a while I hear of a book or a teaching about building memorials to God, which is entirely biblical and is a really cool thing, because it does help us to remember what He has done. After all how many times does He say,  ‘don’t forget’ to His people in the Word? The short answer? A lot. This is because He knows how short our attention spans are, and how we need to remember what He has done or else we just forget about it and start walking around with the delusion that He hasn’t hardly done anything at all.

One of the issues I’ve always had with these memorials is that the people who are advocating them always seem to say they should be outside and usually made of rocks like the ones in scripture. But, I’m just not an outdoor person. The whole point of building a memorial is to remember, but what’s the point if you don’t even notice it? I mean, if I can drive over a blue can and eventually not see it, you can bet money that I’ll walk right past an outdoor memorial to something He’s done and eventually not see it either.

Being a writer, I write things down, but even that necessitates digging through notebooks to find something to remember and doesn’t have that instant impact that takes place when you see a simple thing and are reminded of what He’s done. So, my writing doesn’t actually add up to any sort of memorial either.

Because I thought I was someone who didn’t make any sort of memorials, I settled back into the camp of when God wants me to remember something He’ll let me know. This seems to be working, but what I didn’t realize is that He had me building memorials to Himself so I would remember what He’s been doing without my even realizing that He was building them.

I mark my Bible, but not in a way that I’ve ever seen anyone else do it. I’ve tried highlighting scripture only to find that the colors irritated me and I’ve tried underlying scripture that I thought was meaningful but it got too messy for me. But, about 2 years ago I started drawing lines in the margin of my bible next to scripture that caught my eye. After that, I found myself, writing the date next to my line in the margin, but only if God had given me the verse either by making it go 3-D on me, speaking into my spirit or giving it to me through someone else.

This resulted in a combination of those little lines, some just plain and some with dates next to them. What I didn’t realize when I started doing this was that those with the dates are my memorials to the Lord, and just because they aren’t a pile of rocks or outside doesn’t make than any less than what they are, remembrances of Him and what He’s given me and in just the right way for me to remember what He has done.

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”

Deuteronomy 4:9

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Memory (1896). Olin Warner (completed by Herbe...

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Every once in a while you just have to do it, clear out the old. Not necessarily because you’re bringing something new in, but just because it needs to be done.

That’s what’s happened to me this week. After the new year began, I just had the idea seize me and shake me until I couldn’t avoid it any longer, that I had to clear out my son’s room. This ended up turning into a clear out the entire house ordeal because when you move one item, you either need to make room for it elsewhere, or throw it away.

Now, I’m a self-confessed pack rat. I’m not someone who just buys something and keeps it for the sake of owning, but, I am someone who can attach a memory to almost everything I’ve picked up in this clearing out process. Some of those memories are very clear, while others are a little fuzzy, but, I can remember something about every item. So throwing them away is like throwing away a little bit of life, because once it’s gone chances are there will not be a lot around to jog that particular memory again.

This is why clearing out is such an odd and rare occurrence for me. I feel like I’m throwing away memories. Even though I may not see an item for a long time and not touch on that memory unless I see that particular thing, as long as it’s still in the house somewhere I know in the back of my mind that I have access to it if I need it.

This clearing out has been different though, not only do I feel like I have to do it, but I’m actually throwing or giving away a huge amount of items even though they have memories attached to them. I just know that I have to get rid of them. And, although the little shoebox that my son and I live in isn’t overburdened with stuff, I know that I have to clear things out and organize what’s left.

As I’ve been plowing through this process, it has occurred to me more than once that this is how God deals with us on so many levels. We try to keep things around in our physical, emotional and spiritual lives because they hold memories of our lives that are lost to us in this new life we have in Him. We want this new life with Him, but it’s more than slightly uncomfortable for us. Because of this, we want those things around us that we can go back to. Those things that will take us back to what we still, on some level, view as a more comfortable life.

Bottom line, we are still attached to that old life, along with what those things and their memories represent for each of us. This was something the Apostle Paul seemed to thoroughly understand in his writings. He was so adamant  when he urged believers to leave behind the old and put on the new.

Why? Because, at the end of the day, the old can’t hold a candle to the new, a life spent with God who just happens to be madly in love with each and every one of us.

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Ephesians 4:22-24

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Memories are amazing things, and even more amazing are the seemingly innocuous little situations that stir them up in all their multicolored grandeur.

Like seeing the color pink. For me a flood of images from an evening carnival excursion comes to mind, complete with the all consuming sweet smell of cotton candy and the taste of it melting on the tongue. Or, my first time at a baseball game where I could buy bags of the stuff that made my hands sticky and tacky in the heat as I watched pitch after pitch, and run after run trying to make sure my hair didn’t stick to my fingers or my face or the glob of gossamer pink when the wind blew my way

Some memories aren’t so sweet. Recently, my son and I took a drive up a mountain highway so I could take photos for a story I’m doing about off the track swimming holes. You know the kind, those that you stumble on when you’re out walking in the woods or driving on an out of the way road and see a sign that says Elephant Rock Lake. When you go there you find an amazingly refreshing oasis surrounded by granite boulders among the trees.

We sat eating lunch near a stream at one of these wonderful out of the way locations. The stream rustled softly and the sun spread warmly on my back as I started to think about the last time I had driven this highway through the Sierra’s with my heart’s love, who is now gone but not forgotten.

Most of us have had this type of love in our lives. You know that one love, the one you can’t conceive of ever breaking, but if it does break, it breaks your heart into a million pieces making you wonder what fool coined the phrase ‘it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all’. Because to never have loved at all means your heart isn’t riddled with scars and missing bits after it’s been put back together.

It was when these thoughts were running around my head, that I saw the fish. A dark grey spot struggling feverishly as it tried to get upstream to its spawning ground. Because of the snow melt, the run off was quick and ruthless as it pushed the fish back, but time and time again the fish pushed forward sometimes fighting so hard it splashed up out of the water before it settled back underneath the surface to continue its struggle.

The struggle made me think of my heart’s love and how many times it felt like I was swimming up stream just to make it work. But, there is no rhyme nor reason to love and sometimes we fight for things we really were never meant to have, only to find after the experience nearly kills us that we still look at it through the fractured lens’ of the rose colored glasses our hearts still wear.

It’s when some of our memories lie on the other side of those broken tinted glasses and the truth lay somewhere else that we need to rely on God’s sight so we can see the truth of the matter.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”

English Standard Version

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