Not long ago I was finally able to digitize the slides from what feels like another lifetime. They had been gathering dust in some dark corner in boxes as old as the memories captured on film so long ago.
Although the vast majority are disappointing as photography, as I look through the pictures, I am surprised by the intense emotions produced by freshly remembered events. Sometimes I seem to hear a long-forgotten voice, or even smell the hot, sweet fragrance of camp-fire coffee as Best Beloved and I relax next to the great Zambezi river with our young family – it’s so hot that the baby is sitting in a little plastic bath to keep him cool and prevent nappy rash!😊
I look at the little ones my middle-aged children used to be, and suddenly the years of remembered mothering bring a lump to my throat. Memory is a powerful thing and losing it is rightly regarded as almost the ultimate loss we can experience. Memories weave us together in a unique work of art created over a lifetime.
Scripture urges us to take care of our ‘God’ memories. You can almost hear the frustration in Moses’ voice in Deuteronomy 6:10-12: “The Lord your God will soon bring you into the land he swore to give you when he made a vow to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is a land with large, prosperous cities that you did not build. The houses will be richly stocked with goods you did not produce. You will draw water from cisterns you did not dig, and you will eat from vineyards and olive trees you did not plant. When you have eaten your fill in this land, be careful not to forget the Lord, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt.”
Sometimes, in the cut and thrust of a busy life – I include ‘busy for God’ life – present imperatives cause memory failure. And, even worse, sometimes the very blessings that He has poured on me, make me complacent and I forget the source. Elephants do better than I do! So, today, I am looking at some old pictures, and remembering. Because when I go back to them, and with the eye of experience examine them, my courage and my faith are renewed in a truly personal way.