Last night, I had the best time reminiscing with my parents. I was going to say my ‘aging’ parents but aren’t we all aging? My parents are 88 and 85 and really don’t look it. On the phone my mother can sometimes sound older but that could just be the hearing aid acting up. They drove from Canada to see my youngest act in a church performance last night and I decided it was the perfect time to get a box of old photos out. I was having trouble recalling the names of friends and relatives (some I had never met) and seized the moment. Having them sit right next to me and recalling friends in old black and white pictures was a great memory for me. I even asked my daughter to grab her phone to snap a picture of the enjoyable moment. Mom and dad would say things like ‘Oh, they died last year’ or ‘I don’t remember that picture being taken’. There was a backstory and a side story and sometimes two stories when my mom insisted dad didn’t have it right. ‘No,no,no Ken, that wasn’t her’. At one point I looked at my dad’s expression laughing with my mom. A lifetime flashing by before him, I knew he liked that I had this mix of old photos to pass along to my children. I also thought about how sad it would be if we didn’t remember these faces. I never knew my mother’s parents. They died before I was born. Recalling good times brings joy to the soul for sure. Some friends had tragic deaths and they died young. Some friends moved far away from Scotland like my parents did and began lives in the US and Canada. Some ended up at my church growing up and I remember them. Some were related to people I didn’t even know about. That sort of discovery blows my mind at how small this world can seem at times. Relationships, community, laughter. All the ingredients for a life pouring into people and how we can be influences on one another. My parents brought me up to love the Lord God, believe in Jesus and put Him as the highest importance in my life. A legacy passed down from both of their parents and even further back than that. A treasure I wish I could go back to thank my great grandparents for but for now I will keep these pictures and put names to the faces. If I don’t know, no one will be around to remember.
I have been currently reading The Story, which is a story version of the Bible. Having read through the Bible once before it’s not something that I regularly do. The language and lineage of names that are difficult to pronounce has me lost quicker than my coffee can stay warm and I find myself drifting off to my phone and Instagram. Forgive me. My faith doesn’t lie on knowing the names of those thrown into the fiery furnace or being able to name all twelve of Jacob’s sons but if I don’t visit them often in the Bible they will be forgotten and that is just sad. From a childhood of Sunday school stories, reading ‘The Story’ Bible is triggering the main event and allowing me to process the information that maybe wasn’t kid friendly to share. The Bible is called the living word, which I believe it to continue to teach and train me for life. In a similar way, I can learn and understand life from old photos of my relatives. God was very present in those days and tragedy hit. Sometimes, smiles were absent from some for very good reason. We don’t have to know all the details or gossip from every situation to know that God is still very present. He wants to teach us to love and pass along the very real purpose of raising kids and families to live for Him. With each generation comes problems, sadness and heartache. Just by knowing one another we can make a difference for the next generation. I just don’t want to allow my generation to miss out on knowing and remembering how God was and is. You know He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
My parents have changed … a lot. My father has the biggest mustache, that my mother doesn’t care for. They both have shrunk a few inches. (I wonder when that will happen to me) but recalling old times brought a smile and a laugh to both my parent’s souls that I will cherish forever. I want to read the Bible (or story version) with eyes like that. A loving God, retelling of generations He always loved, but some followed Him and some did not. Foretelling of His beloved Son, Jesus, and having Him die for you and me. I’m asking and praying for God to continue to reveal how that changes my life now in 2019 and passed down to generations to come. My word for this year was faithfulness and God has created moments to open my eyes to His faithfulness. As Christmas approaches, may you catch glimpses of love, laughter and joy and don’t let go.