A Typical Afternoon Interrupted
There I was, minding my own business, running some errands when they hit me like a barrage of pellets from my son’s old air-soft gun. One after the other. They turned my ordinary afternoon into an emotional tidal wave.
What were they? Memories.
A Trip Down Memory Lane
As I was driving down a street in my hometown, I glanced over to my left and saw it —Explorations V, our local children’s museum. Ahhhhh, I remember taking my daughter there often.
In the next block, I saw the original site of the museum. It first opened when my thirty-year-old son was just two years old. We had many fun visits to the museum, like the time my pre-school daughter was enthralled with Pocahontas and John Smith, visiting from nearby Walt Disney World.
Next, I drove around the duck, swan and goose-filled lake near the center of town. How many times did we walk around this lake and feed the ducks?
We lived in a house on a street connecting this lake and another. It was the first home my two children knew. More memories.
I continued driving around another lake, one that I rode bikes around with my friends in Junior High. It was the same lake where my husband almost proposed. Yep, I drove right by the spot.
By this time, I was feeling really blue. I would have thought it was simply a case of the “January Blues” but, it was February.
I ended up at the grocery store, the final errand of the day. There were a few teenaged boys bagging groceries, no doubt working at their first job — just like my son had done. I’m just thankful none of the song’s from my daughter’s driving sound track were playing. There may have been a call for cleanup on aisle 14, the tissue aisle.
For a couple of hours that afternoon, memories from my past kept popping up everywhere I went.
It’s strange. I can drive all over this town that has been my home since birth and not think a thing about it. But, some days, the memories flood over me. There is not a spot that doesn’t invoke some memory from my childhood to my child-rearing years.
As I was driving home, I thought “what if we didn’t have memories”? What if every day was just a day we lived? I quickly came to my senses and realized that wouldn’t be any fun. Sure, we all have memories we wish we could banish from our memory banks forever. But, I think we probably have more that remind us of good times and people we love.
Memories can be a blessing and a curse.
The Proper Place For Memories
God has something to say about remembering. He told the people of Israel over and over again to remember all he had done for them, how he brought them out of slavery in Egypt. The word remember is used almost two hundred times in the Old Testament. You see it a lot in Deuteronomy, like this verse in chapter five.
I think the point is balance. We need memories. We need to remember, but, we can’t be so focused on the past that we are not looking ahead and moving forward. We also need to be careful that we don’t get stuck in the past to the point that we can’t function in the present — I’m talking to myself here.
If you’re an empty-nester, what triggers your memories? Do you get stuck in the past, wishing for what was? How do you get back on track?