Shades of Grace: What we Remember

I guess our memory bank holds only so much. As we go through our lives, we have to make room for new people, new events, and learning. For me, making room also means replacing. As I get closer to 50, the days of my childhood and youth are fading in memory. What was longer ago, now actually seems longer ago.  It’s hard to distinguish between what is an actual memory of something/someone and what is a memory of a picture or video. The day to day of the past is often lost in our memories, but the special stands out. Although traditions can be meaningful, it is actually the unusual days that I remember most. What we didn’t do all the time is what comes to mind fastest.

My BFF when I was a child in Charleston was Cindy. She and her mom drove from SC to AL for her to be a bridesmaid at my wedding because I thought it would be special to have a bridesmaid from childhood, school days (middle and high school) and college days there on that special day. She had visited me after we moved to Tennessee, but we hadn’t connected in years, and she still came! Years later after I was married and several months pregnant with Lauren, my mom and I drove to Charleston and I was in her wedding. And there was also my friend Sandra, a back door neighbor who came over to play for hours. I don’t remember specifics, just that days with her were fun. Sunday school teachers, youth ministers, school teachers, and friends … I have a heart full of gratitude toward them all. I know their lives touched mine and when I think of how I got to this day and this point in my life, faces splash in. My mom calls them intersections. Motivational speaker and writer Andy Andrews talks about the Butterfly Effect. “Everything we do matters for all of us and forever.”
We did acknowledge every birthday in our home, but we only made some of them a big deal. I’m so glad, because I remember those special ones. I also remember that as a young child, my daddy came into our room first thing in the morning on our birthdays and put soot on our nose (um, you’ll have to ask him about that). And even though we weren’t able to afford big family vacations every year, the ones we were able to have were such fun times that were memorable. Because we always lived away from our extended family, times together were special and “too short”.

Scenes of Christmas day(s), family gatherings, summers with cousins or family reunions where we sang together with my aunts and uncles while my cousin and mom played the piano, vacations, playing in the Nashville snow…God had a part in all of these. And though His name was never far from any one day or any one conversation in our home, each and every person who reinforced Who He is played a part in my life. Yes, everything we do matters. In coming posts, I may zoom in on some of the special times/people I have mentioned – like my 4th grade teacher and the snowiest winter I remember (and it wasn’t in Rapid City). But I am so thankful that turning 50 is giving me time to reflect on all of these and realize that these people and these times were all shaping me… all planting something deep within me. I also recognize more than ever the importance of intentionally investing in others beyond the walls of my own little world. So while the faces or places of today’s collage may be jumbled and unfamiliar to some of my readers, each one has significance to me.

And here’s my important thought of the day: I may be just one of many faces in the jumbled mind of a foster child or neighbor or friend; but I want the impact of my life to matter for good. I want others to learn an important aspect of Who God is because their life intersected with mine at some point.
Yes, so many shades of grace are being discovered in my life … year after year!

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