We’ve already catapulted to the third week of this new year of 2020! Weren’t we just buying extra batteries, food stores and candles for Y2K? We speak in proverbial snippets like “the blink of an eye,” “a week is just nothing,” “where did the time go?” Indeed, time is elusive and fleeting – often our past, present and future collide and collapse so it seems there is no differential at all. The continuum of our lives is but a circle. Sometimes fractured or incomplete – often imperfect and challenging – yet our lives move forward as we remember the past. We move forward in hope that the future will be sweet and kind, rewarding and productive. Much of that future is built on our past – on what we remember.
As we have recently (again, “recent” passes quickly) come out of the Christmas Season (Yes, Christmas Day, 2019 was already almost a month ago!), you have more than likely “recently” heard a biblical version of Luke 2. Whether via the Charlie Brown Christmas Special, in a song, in a devotional or in a sermon, the story of the birth of Jesus is generally read, spoken and sung throughout the world during the season of Advent.
There are two separate occasions described in Luke 2 where Mary, the mother of Jesus, pondered, treasured and stored up in her heart what had occurred, what she had experienced or what had been said about her son.
The description of the “ponderings” of this special mom served as the impetus for the name of this blog. During a “recent” sermon on Luke 2 our pastor made a simple, yet remarkable and enlightening statement regarding these specific ponderings, really ANY ponderings – he said we “ponder” to store up memories for the future. (Thanks Hershael York!)
Some time ago I realized that we always become someone else’s memory. Let me repeat that – WE ALWAYS BECOME SOMEONE ELSE’S MEMORY! If that isn’t a scary, convicting and challenging thought to you, you may want to check your pulse!
I think I attended more funerals in the year 2019 than I have attended in any year of my life thus far. Many of these losses were of men and women who made a significant impact on the life of our family. One, a dear friend who was a part of our lives since my husband and I met and whose care and interest in our lives serve as the chief reason we have lived in our home, really in our town, for the past 25 years. Another, the bride in the most amazing wedding we ever attended. One sweet lady’s quilt is seen every time we walk down our bedroom hall as it hangs there – reminding us of the lovely life she led as she cared, as long as she was able, for a disabled son – yet finding time to love on us and create things of beauty in the quietness and solitude of her daily life. We said good-bye to the pastor and dear friend who married us – his home-going far too early than anyone would have ever dreamed. A tragic accident took the life of a beloved teacher who challenged and supported our girls – in the classroom, in the gym and by his godly example. And finally, we celebrated the life of one of the most encouraging, supportive, loving and Christ-like people our family has ever known – her indelible mark on each of our lives will surely not fade with the passage of time.
Why do I recount these? – – – Because I have pondered their lives – they are part of my memory – as well as the memories of my husband and children.
Therein lies the challenge – as people encounter what I do and say – as they “ponder” my life and store up those memories for the future, what memory will my life, my words, my work, my very existence, evoke in others? – Particularly in my children, sons-in-laws, grandchildren, friends and neighbors. It is truly a “thought to ponder!”
I used to play the “opposites” game with my girls to teach them new words – so here are a few “opposites” that could lead to either pleasant or unpleasant memories as the people I know and love ponder my life – and I know I’ve covered them all at some time or another:
- Encouraging or Discouraging
- Generous or Selfish
- Thoughtful or Selfish
- Listening or Speaking (Chattering)
- Kind or Cruel
- Friend or Foe
- Uplifting or Down-casting
- “Good for You!” or “Woe is Me”
- Industrious or Lazy
- Creative and Fun or Boring and Stuck in My Ways
- “Sorry, I’m Busy” or “Sure, What do You Need?”
- A Face Crinkled by Laughter or Scrunched by Scowling
- Sparkly Eyes or Glaring Eyes
- A Tongue Under Control or Out of Control
- Truth or Untruth or Partial Truth
- Commitment or Whatever I Want to Do When I Want to Do IT
- Authentic or Phony
- Honest or Two-Faced
- Loving or Unloving (or what may be even worse – Apathetic)
You get the picture – as we go through each day of our lives our interactions, words, thoughts, deeds, facial expressions – everything – forge us into the lives, the ponderings, the memories of others – especially to those closest and dearest to us.
Oh for the grace that will allow my memory to be a sweet one to the ones pondering my life in the future – which time will come and go – truly, in the blink of an eye.
Thought to Ponder:: Am I living my life in such a way that the memories of me that are being stored up in the hearts of others will evoke cherishing or cringing?