40-Day Challenge: Memories (Day 19)

Begin with the Prayer of Abandonment.

I realize this might sound a bit like “Keepsake.” Please bear with me.

Creating and preserving the memories of family life is a really important aspect of motherhood.  From baby books and family recipe files to scrapbooks and (more recently) personal blogs, we are the keepers of the important milestones of our children’s lives.

Some images are strongly visual: a flour-dusted toddler grinning proudly over a freshly baked pan of sparkly sugar cookies. The chocolate-smeared princess on her first birthday. Craig and I with our two good friends, celebrating my birthday in a hot air balloon.

Others are a combination of other senses: the jar of dried flower blossoms taken from each of the corsages and bouquets I’d been given over the years. A blue beribboned stack of old letters and cards from celebrations past. My father’s old tobacco pouch, the last vestiges of Walter Raleigh tobacco stubbornly clinging to the seam.

Of course, some memories stick despite our best efforts to forget them. The harsh word, untimely spoken. The hasty decision that cost dearly, either financially or relationally. The argument that escalated beyond all reason. The relationship that turned toxic, or produced devastating consequences. As much as we might want to forgive, the forgetting seems impossible. Impossible . . . if not for the grace of God, who takes those painful moments of our lives and uses them to soften our hearts, filling them with the compassion and wisdom that only come through enduring the painful moments of life.

Is there a memory you would just as soon “do over,” erasing from your memory bank 100%?  Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a switch on the brain you could flip, and have the previous hour magically rewound?

Sorry … life doesn’t work quite like that. The best we can do is to apologize when we’ve caused the hurt, choose to forgive when we’ve been on the receiving end … and make every effort to learn from our mistakes.

We are the keepers of the family memory, for better or worse. What kind of memory do you want to put in the vault today?

Today’s Challenge: Do something unexpected, out of the ordinary, that the whole family will talk about for years to come. The day you pulled them out of school an hour early and took them canoeing because it was just too beautiful to stay inside. The morning you greeted them with waffles piled high with strawberries and ice cream, liberally doused with fresh whipped cream. The day you drove eleven hours straight to Grandma’s house, just to take her out to dinner. The night the entire family spent the night under the stars (if you live in Michigan, you might want to table this until June.)

Today’s Prayer: Keeper of my memories, in your mercy teach me to let go of those things that weigh me down, and to focus on bringing more spontaneous happiness to the world. Life is too short to live any other way. In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen!

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