Wisdom Builds Memories
It was to be the perfect anniversary gift. Wyndham and I would be celebrating 44 years of marriage, and I had an idea for the perfect gift for him—a particularly meaningful gift. I wanted this gift to be extra special because, with Wyndham’s disease, we never know if we will get to celebrate another year. (Really, none of us know this.) When we were married, on December 14, 1974, technology was different than it is today. We were hi-tech though; we had an audio cassette tape made of our wedding. We also have a collection of wedding picture proofs, though could not afford to buy the pictures. So, my idea was this: Take our proofs and our audio cassette to someone who could make a video from the proofs and the cassette. I found someone who could transfer the tape to MP3, and Melissa found someone who could put the video together. I knew Wyndham would love this, as it would bring such meaningful, precious memories to life. He would cry, as tears come quite easily these days, but would be so encouraged. Wyndham has always been an exceptional memory builder.
I gathered the pictures and went downstairs to grab the cassette, stored in the special place of safe-keeping. I hadn’t looked in this particular cabinet in the basement for at least a decade, so I was eager to listen to the tape again—if I could find a cassette recorder.
The cassette tape wasn’t there. In fact, it was nowhere to be found (and, for faithful blog readers; no, it was not in the freezer). After hours of searching, I realized this was not meant to be. (My best guess is that the cassette was in a tape recorder we had owned, which was thrown out years ago.) While I was searching, I found a forgotten box of VCR’s full of precious memories—things like Jacob’s last day in Romania and his arrival in the US twenty years ago. I thought about how I should transfer these videos to CD’s, but then asked myself, “why?” Do I really need to possess these videos, and do I really need the missing audio cassette tape, or can I just close my eyes- and remember. I did just that; closed my eyes and brought back precious memories. I didn’t need a tape player, I just needed to focus and take the needed time to reflect.
Memories are powerful. Some bring warm feelings, while others bring angst and sorrow. For some, certain memories bring trauma. God gave us an amazing capacity to remember sounds, smells, and feelings associated with events. Mary, mother of Jesus, treasured an all-important memory that affected her life, and ours:
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:19). The message she treasured in her heart contained life-changing words—some glorious, some frightening, and some that would one day pierce her soul.
Many times, we must choose the memories we allow to roll through our minds as we strive to follow Romans 12:21, and overcome evil with good. For those with painful memories, this is hard work and only possible through the power of God’s Spirit and the focus on His Word. One family I know makes new memories by celebrating a day of “good deeds’ and “paying it forward” on every anniversary of their son’s death. When we treasure and remember God’s instructions, we choose wisely. When we remember God’s Word, write it on our hands, and etch it in our hearts. we know wisdom.
Dear friend, do what I tell you; treasure my careful instructions.
Do what I say and you’ll live well. My teaching is as precious as your eyesight—guard it!
Write it out on the back of your hands; etch it on the chambers of your heart.
Talk to Wisdom as to a sister. Treat Insight as your companion. (Proverbs 7:1-4 MSG)
We use wisdom when we build precious memories. As we were recently talking with our kids of Christmas memories, they remember many things—traditions and certain foods they still count on. We do well to think of ways we can purposely build precious memories. While we more often think of ways we build memories with a spouse or with children—what memories are we building with God? Do we build special times with him conversing in prayer, reading aloud his words to us, acknowledging and meditating on the power of his working, standing in awe of his creation, and worshiping him in song? These are memories we can call to mind when we grow weary or our faith is weak.
At times, I have been so busy trying to frame and capture a moment that I missed the moment. We might lose all pictures and precious documents in a house fire or computer crash, but no one (as long as our mind functions) can take precious memories. As we celebrate the holidays, wisdom would have us build precious memories—with God and with others. What better way to overcome difficult memories, celebrate a lost loved one, or build deeper unity and joy?
As for the special anniversary gift—it’s still coming. For the soundtrack, I am using “our song” of over four decades, “On Top of the World” by the Carpenters. And, we are using a favorite poem by Edgar Guest that was read by Sam Laing at our wedding (and for this project read by our children…at least I think that was their secret plan). The poem, entitled “It Takes a Heap O’ Living” is about making memories. A few of the lines concerning precious (though difficult) memories read (when changed to modern English) :
For these are scenes that grip the heart, and when your tears are dried,
You find the home is dearer than it was—and sanctified;
And tugging at you always are the pleasant memories…
May you build precious memories with God and with others during this holiday season. Store them in your heart so they are readily available to fill your soul with deeper faith and abiding joy.
But, shhhh, don’t tell Wyndham about his gift. It won’t be ready until Christmas.