Have you ever been on your way home after a busy day, with thoughts filling your mind and stealing your attention, and suddenly, you look up and you’re home? Have you ever thought “How’d I get here? I don’t even remember it!”
This was what I did many times with my life. As a child, even though I loved school, I couldn’t wait for summer time. I’d wish away the last few days of school until suddenly, I was in the warm golden days of summer. My warm golden days would quickly turn into gray boring days and I’d wish for the comforting routine of school days. When I was in school, I’d sigh and think “I can’t wait until I’m in high school.” I plowed my way through junior high with my head down and my mind full of I-can’t-wait-until’s…and then, suddenly, it was my senior graduation day. And I looked around at my friends and realized I wasn’t going to see them anymore. And suddenly, memories of my days with friends I’d been with since kindergarten came crashing over me like a tidal wave. Running on the playground, playing “horses” with my best friends in grade school; giggling over boys and finally getting a locker in middle school; make-up, cars, prom, and just laughing until we thought we’d pop in high school.
In college, I couldn’t wait until I graduated so that Chris and I could finally get married! Because, you know, we just knew that as soon as we finished college, we’d magically be making the big dollars, me being a teacher and all.
When Chris and I got married, we couldn’t wait until we got to have a house of our own. We loved our little yellow “fixer-upper” that we rented. We still lovingly point it out to our kids as we drive by. But we really looked forward to the day when we got to have a house of our very own.
Once we were established in our own home, we couldn’t wait to start a family! It wasn’t too long after we moved in that we found out we were expecting Parker. Nine months seemed like forever.
Do you see a pattern here?
I have spent my entire life waiting for the next step to happen instead of enjoying what was happening now. Sometimes I grieve over the things that I missed, the things that I didn’t take time to enjoy because I was so busy getting to the next piece of my life. But then God gives me memories.
Memories can be tricky things to figure out. There are times when I feel them coming on and they cover me like a warm blanket, soothing my soul. Then, there are other times when I feel them coming and I want to stop them. I sometimes don’t want to remember things that will make me sad or homesick for the way things were before.
Lots of times we don’t realize we are making memories when we are doing everyday life. All of those times I sat on my Granny’s porch watching the sun go down in all of its orange and pink glory, I didn’t think to myself “Wow, what a beautiful memory I am making.” When my babies cried in the middle of the night and I stumbled to their cribs to pick them up and soothe them, I didn’t think “Let me just get a quick pic of this…it’s such a great moment in life.” At those times in the middle of the night, my brain usually felt like it was stuffed with cotton! My thoughts were usually “Must. Get. Sleep!”
But when I think back now on those precious times, I am so thankful for those memories, the ones that came without warning. Although I never took a picture of the sunset from Granny’s porch, I picture it in my mind every time I see a beautiful sunset now.
Every time I hold my growing, wiggling, sweaty-smelling boys, I remember in my mind those nights when it seemed like the rest of the world was asleep except for the two of us. I remember how soft they felt, how sweet their baby-powder, milky faces were to kiss.
Every time I pass the old yellow house with the beat-up mailbox, I remember the first years of being married to Chris. The struggles, the laughs, the decisions, the fears.
Every time I miss my grandmother in heaven, I remember her hugs, her funny sayings, the songs she sang. I remember the food she cooked, the chair she sat in, and the flowers she lovingly tended. I remember her cats, how she loved them, how she sounded when she talked to them. I remember how she loved me.
Yes, memories can happen without warning. They happen every day of our seemingly ordinary lives. I’m praying that I can start opening my eyes to the memories happening all around me each day instead of pressing forward with my head down to the next phase of life.
And for those memories of the times I almost missed out on due to my “waiting”, I thank God for preserving snippets and pictures and sending them to me just when I need them the most.
What about you? I’d love to hear some of your special memories! Let’s share them with each other in the comments below. I’ll bet someone’s memory will spark one in another person’s heart!
To get your memories flowing, I’ve added a new song of mine. It’s called Memories Without Warning. Take a listen and let the memories pour out!