Memories are a powerful thing aren’t they? It’s funny how we can be going along, minding our own business and then we see something, or smell something or hear something and memories sometimes come rushing in. Good or bad I guess.
I had that happen the other day. I was at a local farm looking at some flowers. They happened to have one of my all time favorite garden flowers. Cosmos, for those of you flower lovers out there who were wondering. There’s just something about them, so tall and graceful and cheerful. They make me happy.
In the house where we raised our kids, I used to plant them every year right outside the back door. Every time I went in or out I looked at them. It wasn’t so much the memories of growing the flowers that hit me that day. I have grown them, or tried to, in my current house and the one before this. They never seem to grow the same as they did at that old house.
No it wasn’t the flowers it was the memories of summers gone by that hit me that day. Warm days when all our family was still under the same roof. We had a pool at that house so, as you can imagine, we spent lots of time out there with the kids. I have such fond memories of times with friends, neighbors and loved ones on those summer days. Some of those loved ones are no longer with us. All we have left is memories.
Good memories can be wonderful things to have and to pull out and remember from time to time. Perhaps memories of vacations or times when your kids were small or yes, memories of those who have gone on. Its especially good to remember things the Lord has done for us in our lives. His goodness to us. His love.
Memories can be wonderful. But if we start comparing them to our current lives and being more content to live in the past, or think the past was so much better then it can be a problem.
The thing about memories is that they’re selective. We don’t always remember the bad with the good or the good that was there with the bad. That’s why the past is someplace we are only supposed to visit from time to time. Not stake our tent pegs and live there. We can never re-create the past the way we remember it. And living in the past takes away from our present and our future.
Whatever is going on at this time in our lives will someday be tomorrow’s memories. It only makes sense then that we should spend more time thinking about what’s going on today than what happened last week, or last year or a lifetime ago. And why is it we sometimes continually beat ourselves up over mistakes we may have made in the past instead of moving past them, and forgiving ourselves?
The Apostle Paul had his priorities in line. If anyone had things in their past to beat themselves up over, it was Paul. In Philippians 3:12-14 he said: Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
He hadn’t forgotten any of the wrong that he had done. But he knew he was forgiven and he knew he had things to do that the Lord had called him to do. Imagine if he had spent all his time living in the past instead of in doing what he was called to do. We wouldn’t have much of the New Testament today.
I think his is a pretty good example to follow. I believe I will cherish my good memories and think on them from time to time. The bad memories I will choose to forget and leave behind, while I reach forward to those things which are ahead. We all have things the Lord has called us to do. Like the old saying goes “your eyes are in the front of your head for a reason”. We can’t see where we’re going if we keep looking behind us.
Oh, and in case you were wondering. I did buy some Cosmos. Like I said they make me happy. And maybe this will be the year that they will really grow!