It was time. The closet in our spare room was jam-packed. It got to the point where I could hardly access anything, due to the sheer amount of stuff in there. Ok, a lot of it belongs to my mother, who lives with us. But I must admit, as I started to empty the closet and sort things out, I found lots that I even forgot I had!
While I was cleaning and organizing, I couldn’t help but go through everything. I really didn’t have anything else pressing to do, so I decided to slow down and enjoy the process.
A few hours later, my heart was warm and full, and I had a lump in my throat.
What I found were memories. Lots of them.
There was a big bag filled with old slides from my growing up years. Those slides were digitized and posted a while ago…why is it so different to actually hold them in my hands? Probably because my dad was in charge of the slides and pictures, and he has been gone now for eleven years. I do miss him! How much fun it used to be for our family to watch the slides and the home movies together. Those were special times.
The next thing I looked through was my husband’s old photo album. Why did I never before appreciate the pure genius of my mother in law, who insisted he put Vaseline on his lips, and wear a red shirt every year for his school pictures? And then arrange the photos next to each other so the progression can be seen? And oh my gosh, there is a picture of him when he was about 4 years old, and I clearly see the image of my youngest son. If the picture wasn’t in black and white, set in the sixties, I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the two of them. And why does seeing pictures of my husband as a child make me smile and tug at my heart?
I found a framed copy of my oldest son’s green hand prints on white paper, dated from when he was 2 and a half years old. The glass is broken and I really want to reframe it and send it to him as a surprise. For some reason, I am not ready to part with it. He would not yet appreciate the innocence and tenderness of the child he was way back then. He always kept me on my toes, forever chasing after him to keep him out of danger. However, even as a young child, he had the hugest heart and was very intuitive to people’s needs. He is still like that.
My youngest son is a graphic designer. Not only did I find his high school and college art portfolios, but I also found pictures he drew when he was really young, and some from middle school. Those pictures brought back memories of when he was in grade school and sold his black and white pencil drawings to his friends. We found out later that not only did he he accept money for his artwork, he even charged extra for color. He used to say “I AM an artist.” He was right!
In the corner of the closet, I found a beautiful china tea set, given to me as a gift, that is inscribed with bible verses. I am holding onto it, because I look forward to sharing tea with a future granddaughter (or granddaughters).
The last things I sorted through were all the wrapping papers, ribbons, and bows. I am known for saving bows, and we keep reusing them over and over. I have a lot of them! Some have pieces of birthday or Christmas wrap attached. I realized that I was looking at years of memories, with my sons, and their wives. All of us together, tearing through birthday or Christmas gifts. Laughing, hugging, and enjoying each other’s company.
I was overcome with the knowledge and feeling, that without even realizing it, we were creating memories through all those years. Memories that we are blessed with, and that can never be taken away.
Lord, thank you for the blessings of our family and friends, for all the memories we have in our hearts, and also the ones we have to look forward to. Help us to cherish the times we have together, and to always know that you are the source of those blessings.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17