But take care and watch yourselves closely, so as neither to forget the things that your eyes have seen nor to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children’s children— Deuteronomy 4:9
This past Tuesday I shared my view from the window where I sit to write. That picture was taken in the afternoon as I wrote about God speaking a word and creation happened. This evening, as I am a little later writing than I intended, I sit here at the same place, looking out at the river and it looks different now. Across the waters and through the trees I can see, between the branches, sunlight putting rays across the golf course. People still walking there on the greens. But what is especially intriguing are the reflections in the water. The picture I shared Tuesday was what I describe as flat. The water appears brown. There isn’t a lot of contrast, although I still think it’s pretty. But this evening there are so many reflections on the waters – the trees that are swaying with the breeze are also looking like they are in the water, moving. Like a mirror. The light is shining through the branches onto the water, part of it is blue and part is almost white like the clouds.
As I see all that, I begin thinking about reflections. About how when we reflect on things, we see them in our minds as if they are in a mirror. In my Facebook memories this morning, I saw a post that I wrote on this day, three years ago – June 11, 2013. I posted that my daughter and I, along with my two grandchildren, were in the car, heading to North Carolina to visit my dad. In my mind I could see that day so clearly. We were sitting in the parking lot while Annie, my daughter, went into Radio Shack to purchase something. I wrote the post while we were sitting there. We were all excited to take off on this long adventure. The children had never met my father, so that alone was exciting. And then I thought about all the experiences we had along the way and while we were there. My dad was so glad to have us come and it was a great time. Little did we know that just three years later, he would be gone. He died November 22, 2016. As I lay there in bed this morning I reflected on that time and smiled, remembering how good it was for us to have been there with him.
Looking out at the water this evening and seeing the reflections there remind me of another time so long ago. I was only three or four years old and the place where we lived was called Big Hill. It was next to an airport where my dad – a pilot and crop duster – worked. Down the hill was a beautiful drive that people loved to drive or walk on. On one side, looking down, was a river, and on the other side was the hill that went up to where we lived. Except in one place there was a little lake. It was called Shadow Lake. One time in the fall, my mother took me to the lake. We took the short cut which was straight down the hill on a path that others had formed. The trees were in full color and when we got to the lake my mother spread a blanket out and we sat down together. She had brought paper and crayons and we began to color. I’ll never forget the beauty of that place on that day. All the colors of the leaves were reflected in the lake and it was glorious! Most impressive was what my mother was doing on her paper with the crayons. I remember looking over and seeing an amazing array of colors that looked just like the view of the lake. The reflections were so real and I, as a little girl, was completely impressed by how wonderful an artist my mama was! I adored her already but that raised the bar even more.
As we get older, I’m finding that we reflect more and more on past experiences. We hold on to those memories tightly so we don’t lose them. I see that my husband, Fred, who is a bit older than me, spends a great deal of time remembering past events – events from his childhood and from his days as a young father. He thinks a lot about songs that had been long forgotten until all of a sudden, they come to the surface of his mind. He tells me that sometimes he is awake until all hours of the night just reflecting and remembering all those things. Sometimes he comes in and tells me about a song or a memory and I’ll ask “Where did that come from?” He just says, “I don’t know. I just thought of it.”
If you are older, you probably already experience some of these events of reflecting and cherishing those past moments in your life. If you are younger, perhaps with children still at home, I would encourage you to keep those experiences close in your memory, to spend time reflecting on how precious those moments are. My mom used to tell me to write down the funny, wonderful things my children said. But I didn’t because I was sure I would never forget them. Now, I wish so much I had done it. I remember a few but what I remember most is that there were so many things they said and did that I wish I could remember!
One benefit for young mothers today is social media. You have ways of recording and saving just because you are able to share so much. Don’t stop! Even if you think some others don’t care to see so much about your family … who cares? You will be so thankful that you have all those memories someday.
What are the meaningful things in your life that you reflect on? I really wish you would send me a little note, sharing something you remember that is precious to you. Please do. I think God gave us memories so that even though we can’t go back and relive the past, we can look at it from where we are and be joyful and thankful for our lives. Even the painful memories have a place for us – a place to see how we have been shaped and healed and strengthened on our journey.
Thank God for memories. May your reflections be full of blessings.
Grace and Peace!