Now that the cooler days of autumn are here, who can remember those long hot, dry days of summer? Not long ago we were looking longingly into each cloud for much-needed moisture and yet I caught myself today wishing this cold/wet weather would disappear!
We are such creatures of the ‘here and now’. We so quickly forget where we have come from. Two short weeks ago I was one of those desperate for water; I had friends whose water tanks were dry and who were having to buy-in water. I counted each millimetre of moisture in our rain gauge and worried about how my garden was faring. Now that the rains have come, I was almost shocked at myself to see how quickly I had forgotten what had gone before and had lost that all-encompassing ‘I want to dance in the rain’ joy that accompanied our first real rain this month. That led me to wonder why, and reminded me of how quickly the Israelites had forgotten their joy at being freed from slavery and instead wanted to return to that life rather than rely on God- who forgot the awesome miracles that God had done on their behalf when faced with the ‘here and now’ of giants in their path.
It was then that I was reminded of this quote: “Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.” ― Edmund Burke, and another similar: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." (George Santayana). So how do we remember what has gone before in order to not lose our attitude of gratitude and our place of perspective?
I think this is where the importance of memorials comes into its own. Years ago when we did a Growing Kids God’s Way course they talked about the importance of memorials for your family- ways of remembering those big events in your family life where God clearly directed and acted on your behalf (see http://epitemnein-epitomic.blogspot.co.nz/2009/08/power-in-memoriam-recalling-gods.html). We need to somehow remember (and keep remembering) what God has done for us in the past to strengthen our resolve for today and in a way where we can pass that baton of faith onto our children.
Our family still does not have a Memorial box (examples here: https://www.etsy.com/nz/market/memory_box) but we do have a memorial in the flesh of our son.
Matthew was born by emergency Caesarean section that was preceded by a transfer from a low-level maternity home to the city’s Women’s Hospital. The circumstances surrounding that transfer were totally engineered by the hand of God, as it turns out he would have died (and me as well probably) had his birth been initiated at the maternity home. As it was, the emergency surgery resulted in the scalpel making a tiny scratch on his cheek. This was so slight that it was little more that minute beads of blood on the surface of his skin and required no treatment what so ever. Til this day though, seventeen years later, he carries a scar in that place. It is visible through his summer tan and winter whiskers and every time I see it I am reminded (as is he) of his miraculous survival and God’s hand in His life. This is indeed then; the stuff memorials are made of.
I don’t know how your family should remember, or what form it should take. I just know the mere act of remembering is important. It bolsters our view of who we are in God’s eyes and heart and helps us face our own giants of the here-and-now. So, how will you choose to remember?