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Posts Tagged ‘memories’

by Rocky Glenn

An unexpected adventure found on a long night’s journey to observe the super moon although the intended destination was never reached, the unforgettable sensation of chills running down my arms when voices unite bringing the musical arrangements of my first Easter cantata to life, losing track of time when my newborn son opened his eyes and stared into mine as I spoke, the sweet contentment of my baby girl sitting on my lap while her favorite Disney princesses ice skate right by us, gazing into my wife’s eyes on our wedding day as I serenade her with a song written specially for the day . . .

Some of life’s greatest treasures are simply the moments we hold in our heart and reflect on, better known as memories. Memories are moments of time which made a mental impression upon us. At the time the impression is formed, we likely do not realize the images, emotions, sights, and sounds which are being recorded. Memories aren’t something you can force to happen. They form naturally and spontaneously with nearly no conscious effort on our part. Memories are formed when we learn to enjoy the moment.

Enjoying the moment can take many forms and does not necessarily mean a time of happiness, giddiness, and laughter. For the marching band students from my previous post, the director’s admonition to enjoy the moment certainly did not authorize them to be frivolous and silly during their performance. His words served as a reminder and encouragement to simply say, “You’ve prepared. You’ve put in the blood, sweat, and tears required to get you here. Now, relax, give it all your all and do what you know to do.” He was telling them to be present in this moment and experience it as it happens with joy, pleasure, and satisfaction.

To better understand this concept, it’s important to know the difference between happiness and joy. Though similar, the two emotions differ based on their source and where they originate. Happiness relies on external factors such as circumstances, events, and even other people. Happiness can be fleeting: here one moment, gone the next. Joy is lasting and is found internally. It resides in controlling what you can and letting go of what you can’t. Joy comes in knowing who you are and accepting who you are. Defined biblically, joy simply means a calm delight. This is the message the band director was trying to convey. Remain calm and delight in this moment and the memory will form itself.

Despite the moments listed above, some memories do not become enjoyable until we view them in the future as reflections of the past. To label those moments as bad memories is a disservice. I believe this is where the pleasure and satisfaction part of enjoying the moment applies. Even in times of unhappiness, pain, and sorrow, it’s possible to reside in a state of calm delight. No one enjoys times of loss and suffering, yet during those times some of our most treasured memories are formed. I was five years old when I lost my grandfather in South Carolina, yet no one will ever be able to steal the moment I crawled up on his hospital bed and kissed him on the cheek and said, “I love you, Papa,” for the final time although he was already gone. Twenty-seven years later I stood beside my mother in the emergency room as we now said goodbye to her dad, and he drew his final breath. Those moments were crushing and heart-breaking to live through but looking back I value each of those moments as both honored and sacred moments.

If I’m being honest, since I set out on this path a couple of weeks ago of examining what it means to enjoy the moment, I have encountered just as many moments I wished to run away from as I sought to enjoy. On many occasions I’ve neglected the notion of being present in the moment as I’ve longed for an escape. I will share more about that next time as I discuss why we don’t often enjoy the moment and what keeps us from doing so. In the meantime, I encourage you to take time to read this tale from three years ago of my family’s experience of attempting to enjoy the journey of going on vacation.

Rocky

More posts in the Enjoying the Moment series:

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As the Christmas season progresses I have noticed spending time reflecting on memories of past Christmases. Have any of you done that? Maybe I should say any of you who are say, fifty-five or over.

Sometimes my mind starts to wander off into years past and I see myself with my parents. I can actually see it in my mind like I was there and I can sometimes smell some of the good smells of Christmas cookies baking in the oven.

ChristmasMemories

It actually can get a little depressing when I wander off like that if I concentrate on the past to long. Not because I did not enjoy that period of time, but because it is only a memory. Even while I am lost in thoughts from those years gone by, I am still aware of being in the present time. All those loved ones are now gone and are only memories.

I can also envision years not quite as far back when I was younger and had small children of my own. I can remember that excitement of my kids wanting to get up early and open their presents. Yet even thinking about those times to long gets a little depressing because again, those cute little kids are all grown up and have kids of their own. Again, the thoughts of joy and excitement are just memories.

It is funny how memories can be so uplifting and encouraging and bring so much joy, and at the same time can be a little depressing. So many pleasant memories and happy times of past friends and family being together. Then it all disappears as reality sets in and you know those times are gone.

Of course the good part about all of this are the new memories being made with friends and family of the present time. Memories are great but spending to long in the past is not good when there are so many new memories to be made and enjoyed now.

In Philippians 3:13 it says ‘forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal’. I say live by Hebrews 11:1 … Now faith. We are Now living in the kingdom of God. We Now have the Spirit of God living within us. Enjoy your memories, learn from the past but do not dwell there. Move on and keep looking forward to the goal and live each new day with our Father.

So yes, Christmas time is a time of excitement and happy times. It is also enjoyable to drift back into the past and remember all the good times with friends and family. Yet if you let it, it can be a hard time of year.

Am I saying we should not enjoy past memories? No, not at all. Enjoy the past but do not dwell in the past. The best thing I have found is to enjoy the good times with friends and family in the present. Do not let anything keep you from participating or ruin the time you can spend with them. All to soon they will be but memories, but thank God for the memories.

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Have you ever taken time to sit down and start talking about old memories with someone?

My wife and I spent the other evening doing just that. It is enjoyable sometimes to just talk and bring up old times from childhood. It is amazing the things that came to mind that we remembered from pre-kindergarten up through young adulthood and the present.

I can actually remember an event when a photographer came to our house and set up a big light and a chair in the corner of the room. I remember seeing it all from another angle in the room but was not sure why I remember it from that angle. Only after talking with my parents and telling them of the memory they told me that my dad was holding me while the photographer got the camera set up. They said there was a bright light against the wall focusing on the chair in the corner. It was a big surprise to me when they told me I was only six months old at the time yet I can vividly remember the scene in my head.

The brain we were blessed with sure is a remarkable member of the body. It is amazing the things you can remember. My wife and I talked about so many events over the evening from the earliest memories all the way up to the present.

We sat and talked for what seemed like twenty minutes but was actually over an hour. The time flew by and we both enjoyed talking and listening to each other discuss our childhood memories.

Communication

I truly think, for married couples especially, this is one way to grow closer together with those you love and trust. Opening yourself up more, sharing things you might not have shared with anyone before and having good honest communication helps build trust and respect for one another.

Some of the events were funny, others sad and some just down right embarrassing. My wife pointed out that all the events of the past make us who we are today. God takes the good, the bad and the ugly and uses it all to make us the person we are today. A person he can use to help others who may be going through similar events right now who need someone who can understand and provide encouragement.

Take some time and enjoy the memories of the past, realizing that the past is over and done but it made you what you are today. Then be ready to encourage someone who may be going through a tough time because of some of the choices they made and are feeling bad about. The bad choices can be used as stepping stones to much better things.

The funny thing was, after talking about all the memories of the past and remembering things from so long ago, when my wife asked me what I had for lunch at work a couple days ago….I could not remember. Can anyone relate?

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Have you ever had one of those experiences that, at the time it happens, just doesn’t hit you how much it means? Maybe later on down the road it becomes more and more important to you?

It’s been four months now since my wife and I took what was for us, a vacation of a lifetime. We drove from Ohio to the west coast, up the coast and back to Ohio.

We covered just over 7,000 miles, spent 26 days away from home and went through 17 states. We saw sights that we had always heard about or had seen in pictures, but to see them in person was quite amazing.

I think as time passes, and the more we think back on everything we got to do and see, it sinks in more and more. At the time we were traveling and seeing everything, it was so overwhelming that it took time for the impact of what we did to really hit us.

Famous Sites

We saw the famous archway in St. Louis, stopped at Vaile, Colorado and went into the Grand Canyon National Park. We went on to Las Vegas for all the lights, entertainment and activities there. We drove up the coast to San Francisco, a city we had always dreamed of seeing, sitting by the bay and driving across the Golden Gate Bridge. We took an Amtrak ride from a town we found nice and interesting, San Luis Obispo back down to Los Angeles and saw many famous sites and landmarks there. Then we drove back up the coast to visit some friends in Klamath Falls, Oregon, then up to Seattle and Mt. Rainier then over to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho where we had dinner with a couple other friends.

Hollywood

From there we went down into Yellowstone National Park to see Old Faithful, getting there just fifteen minutes before it erupted.  We went over to see Mt. Rushmore and the famous four presidents sculpted into the mountain. We finished up our trip with a stop in Chicago and a walk around Navy Pier and down the Magnificent Mile.

I think once we got home we were so tired and full of memories, it just didn’t sink in how much this affected us. As time passes, it hits me how much this trip means to the both of us. For me,  I got to spend this fantastic trip with my best friend and the person I love more than I can express, getting to see such beautiful and interesting scenery, famous landmarks and interesting sites. And all the while we were making wonderful memories that we will never forget.

Fear

One of the things that really hit me about this trip is the fact that I really had some fear about going. Not a fear that something would happen, but a fear of the unknown. I wondered how would we ever pack a car for a month, how would we find where to stay every night, and how would I ever be able to drive in some of those big cities. The truth of the matter is I could have told my wife I was very nervous about doing this and wanted to wait a while. She would have said that is fine and we would have probably gone to the beach like normal, and probably never made this trip.

The thing is, the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was time to take the plunge and make the decision to give it a try and see what happens. Sometimes we just have to look past our fears, jump in and take off. That is exactly what we did and it turned out great. For my wife and me, we feel that God was watching over us along the way, protecting us and guiding our schedule. I know not everyone believes that, and that is OK.

All along the way, everything just seemed to fall into place at the right time and right place. We had great weather, got into nice hotels every night at decent prices, had no trouble on the road, and just enjoyed ourselves beyond expression. We got to spend a little time with some fellow believers, enjoying good conversation and good food, and to us, we felt we had better fellowship than we have found in most churches we were part of in the past.

So, I guess if there is any moral to the story, it would be look past your fears, make up your mind you are going to do what you feel is right and don’t let worry or fear hold you back. You might just miss a great time and lose those wonderful memories that last a lifetime.

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