I was taking some time today reflecting on the road I’ve traveled over the past year. In remembering the sometimes smooth, and often bumpy path, I started to recall a message I posted pretty much exactly one year ago to the day. It’s called The Power of Remembering. In this post, I shared the literal meaning of the word remember, as it is the opposite of dismember. It’s literally taking an experience either we went through, or that of someone else, which has had an affect on who we are. Then, we reattach it to our thoughts so that we may, to some degree, re-live the experience. By doing so, we hopefully have a greater understanding and appreciation for who we are and the blessings we enjoy today.
Since I wrote that message a year ago, my mom unexpectedly passed away. As I spent this Thanksgiving Day with my dad, we both brought up random memories with which this remarkable woman blessed our lives. Some memories were funny, some were poignant, and some were painful to relive. But each was significant in remembering the sum total of who she was as a person.
I sometimes wonder what people will remember of me. In the past year or two, I have reconnected with hundreds of people I have known throughout my life. Through Facebook, I’ve reconnected with some who go as far back as kindergarten. Despite the fact that they knew me when I was still struggling to tie my shoes, they know very little about anything that has happened in my life since we last saw each other at the end of our school careers in Petaluma, California. It was then that my life took a serious course change. Enter a different cast of characters. I have also reconnected with some people who got to know me from the years of roughly 1983-1985. Those were amazing years for me, but those people know virtually nothing of my life before or after that short time. Then came my college friends, friends from this church, and that church, this city and that city. When I look at my Facebook friends, I’ve got at least one representative from pretty much every facet of my life. But none of them were there for even half of the sum total of my experiences.
Everyone is going to carry different memories of me. Some may be funny, some may be sad. Some may even have frustrating or bitter memories. Because none of us knows how much time is allotted to us in this life and what it will contain, we have no way of knowing what memories are yet to be made. All I know for sure is that I pray my best days are still ahead. I pray that the sum total of my experiences, the people who have come and gone, and some who have re-entered the picture, will serve to inspire great things ahead.
What I would like to communicate to those who read this, to those who have known me for decades, or only weeks, or maybe those who I haven’t yet met, is that who I am is defined most by a relationship I started back in April of 1983. The only individual who is in my life today who has known me not just since I took my first breath, but going back even long before I was born. Anyone who knows me knows I’m not some wacky bible thumper known for confronting people with hell fire and brimstone. I’m just not that way. But if I’m to truly remember the single greatest influence in my life and that of my family and closest friends, I must daily reattach to myself the most loving and sacrificial act ever performed for me…and for you.
I have enjoyed some wonderful memories and friendships throughout my life. They blow my mind. I have been truly blessed. I can honestly and without hesitation attribute each of the greatest experiences of my life to God’s love, grace and mercy. I can also tell you that through the most difficult times in my life, He saw me through it. He saw my tears, felt my broken heart. People come and go from our lives. It’s just life. But through it all, God has never left my side.
I owe Him all that I am, all that I have, all that I will be and will ever have.
I will daily remember His love, His faithfulness, and His sacrifice for me.