Memories (Part 1)

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:28-30 ESV).

You may or may not recognize the picture that accompanies today’s Moring Devotional. It is a scene from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” If you haven’t seen that movie, spend an evening and laugh a lot while watching the exploits of Clark Griswold and his Christmas experience. That’s not the crux of today’s devotional though. We began our decorating for Christmas over the Thanksgiving holiday. Remember that it has been three years since we have been able to decorate our own space. That was due to being in transition between Tennessee and Texas. Regardless, this was our first “real” Christmas in our Texas home.

We certainly are not going to have our home look like the Griswold’s; however, we do have lots of decorations we have accumulated through the years. I began bring all the storage tubs down from the attic in preparation for the actual trimming of the tree and decorating of our home. In a very strange way it left me more nostalgic and emotional than I anticipated. As I open each tub, I remembered the way life used to be. Each tub contained some item that evoked strong memories garnered over the last fifty years. Seems astonishing that it could be that long ago, but it has. I met Mary in the summer of 1968, and we were married December 21, 1969. Over the years we have lived an incredible life. We have been blessed more than either of us imagined when we began all those years ago. However, I am also reminded that the life I’m living now isn’t what we planned.

While I am deeply convinced that I’m living out God’s best for me, there are days I miss what used to be. Unpacking these old tubs, each one filled with memories of a life that no longer exists, I realize there is loss in this journey we have taken. Oh, there is lots of gain, but the loss cannot be denied. As we unpacked and selected the things for this year’s decoration I saw pictures of family from years past. Inevitably, as with your albums, I am reminded of those who have moved from this life to that which God has prepared for them. I would love to have another conversation with them, to hear their voice. There are also pictures and mementos of Christmases past, recitals, and school plays, boxes filled with letters from people I no longer see, photographs that make me laugh and at the same time cringe in horror. All reminders of how our lives have changed. I am reminded again that the life I’m living now isn’t what I planned. This emotion isn’t particular to me. All of us face these memories. Our lives look vastly different than we imagined they would. So, what do we do? In the next few days we’ll examine that question. For now, revisit today’s reading. I know I go there often; however, it is the standard for hope. ALL things will work for my good. Until that is realized I urge you to place your trust in that promise.