It’s been a hot minute and a half since our last post in January. Honestly, it doesn’t feel like it should be almost Thanksgiving…but here we are. I took the last half a year and then some off from blogging and instead enjoyed being. Honestly, it was kind of nice! I never want to write because I feel like I have to, and so the break was good for me. Now, here we are and maybe because it’s this time of year my words are always easier to find. And even though none of these photos have anything to do with what’s been on my mind, they’ll also give you a glimpse of our summer. There is something about the in between of fall and winter that always stirs up a lot of memories of all different kinds, but this year, we’ve been learning and focusing on how to remember–and not to dwell.
Aren’t those the same?
I can remember that three years ago Jet was in and out of the hospital. I can remember the complete and utter helplessness each of those illnesses created in me. But if I dwell on just those feelings, it can warp the memory and even change my mood today, choosing to feel sorry for myself and even him, instead of celebrating how far he’s come.
I can remember that a year and a half ago Judah came home and we thought what have we done. It’s okay to catalog the experience, to remember and learn from it, but I can’t let what ifs guide our future choices.
I can remember meeting both my kids for the first time. How excited we were. Nervous and hopeful. And if I’m not careful, I can start the comparison game that nothing will ever measure up to those moments ever again. I can warp happy memories into bittersweet, melancholy ones…wishing for things that didn’t really exist. Family days are hard, and adjustment periods are even harder. It’s important to remember the hard too, even if it’s easier to remember only the happy.
I can remember how easy things used to be. Friendships, finances, life in general…what I’m trying to say is that remembering isn’t bad! But the way I dwell on these thoughts can taint my reality. I can choose to be thankful for the experiences or to learn from my experiences, or I can choose to be bitter, jealous, anxious, etc.
In Philippians 3:12-14 Paul says, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the price of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.
I don’t think Paul is saying to erase our memories completely. After all, our past shapes us–but it does not define us. If I lived in the past, what future do I have to live for?
I’m not sure yet how we’ll remember the events of this year. Ironically, even though so far this year has seemed to be one of our quietest yet, I can also say that so far, not a single thing we’ve planned for has happened and much of the unplanned has thrown us for a loop. I’m not saying this to be vague, but instead to ponder how I’ll remember 2019.
Like the apostle Paul, I too can choose how I frame my memories. I’m not saying we should ignore our ups and downs, but instead, how can we use them, ultimately, to glorify God?