So do memories.
Fifteen years is a good bit of time to hunker down in one place. A lot of water has passed under this bridge.
When we moved in, we were seven people from three generations. One generation left us over these years. Another was added.
Teens have grown up here. Gone to universities, garnered jobs, gained loves and given us babies.
Older folk have spent some years resting in the whirlpool called family. Then quietly written their final chapters under this roof.
- We’ve savored life here. Receiving all seven of our grandchildren.
- We’ve suffered death here. Releasing all four of our parents.
Joy has saturated these hallways. Family celebrations where we sing and dance and laugh in the sacred pandemonium of life together.
Sadness has also spent a few nights. Dreams turned into nightmares. Rabbit trails became dead ends. Tears falling from losses and let downs.
In short, we have really lived here.
Now we move on–literally. A new, smaller home. A place where we can spend and be spent in our autumn and winter years.
It is a bit insane, moving out just before Christmas. Moving into the new place just before New Years. Homeless in between.
Crazy? Absolutely. We are running around like proverbial headless chickens, wondering where our minds were when we signed the papers!
But there is one thing in this frenetic transition we cannot–we dare not–do.
Forget the journey.
My wife, Dianne, was overcome last week as she packed the many pictures which serve as framed reminders of the stages and struggles of our life together. She walked into my office and through grateful tears said, “Look what God has done!”
She said it this way to her Facebook friends, “Memories of what has been and just how faithful our God is, are overwhelming. We are better people because of hardship. We are given hope and love to give it away!”
She ended that post with an epilogue always written by remembrance: “I am so thankful!”
Those words rose from a deep place in her as she recalled where we had walked and how we had been carried by grace.
It reminded me of a core lesson our Pastor, Dr. Jeffrey Hoy, has taught us frequently in a marvelous series on Exodus. When we forget what God has done, we tend to get caught in repetitious cycles of pain. We will spend more time traipsing in deserts and circling mountains than God ever wanted us to.
Forgetfulness leads to ingratitude. That ungratefulness will skew our view of God and spoil our experience of His plan.
What good are the lessons in life if in fits of spiritual amnesia we do not remember the point?
How easy it is to forget the many things that have happened. To lose sight of the things you’ve been through.
“Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come…”
The operative word here is through.
You have survived–no more than that–you have overcome! You made it…through.
“…’Tis grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.” (John Newton)
So if you, like us, are at a juncture of change, remember who you are, where you came from, what you were made for and where you are going. Remember Who has been there with you all the way.
When looking back at that Exodus our pastor has been unpacking for us, an old prophet once told the people of Israel: “Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the righteous acts of the Lord.” (Micah 6:5b)
Only by remembering can we see the work of God in our past so that we have courage to dream into the future.
Only in remembering will we see the heart of God through our journey and be able to “give thanks to the Lord.”
“…for He is good, His love endures forever.” (Psalm 106:1)