Thursday, December 9, 2010

Saving Up Memories

I'm not a pack-rat -- in fact, I tend to throw a lot of stuff out prematurely just because I don't want anything cluttering up my life. But there are some things I've kept through the years -- cards, letters, pictures... I went through this stuff over the past two nights and read through it all, my mind just flooding with memories.
I have tons of old pictures - some really funny pictures from college and the couple of years afterward with my New Jersey girls (these were the days before digital cameras, so I have some really weird pictures that just make me laugh and laugh when I look at them), pictures of the family from when I was little, a lot of pictures of my old dog, Tootsie, and an entire album filled with pictures of me during my awkward adolescent stage (they are awesomely bad and I am happy to share them with anyone -- they are a cautionary tale).
Trish and I went through a letter-writing stage in college and the two or three years afterward, and I kept many of those letters. They are mostly funny, but there's one that is just words of encouragement that was sent to me in the the few weeks before I left for my big Australian adventure.
I have treasures: a card from my uncle to me, written the year he died, and sweet cards from my mother over the years. My mom is really wonderful in this way - she sends me cards with really encouraging or loving messages that make me feel great. I have a card that she gave to me right before I left for Australia that I kept with me the entire time I traveled.
My biggest treasure, though, is a tiny note card from a close family friend, written just a couple of years before she died. I'll call her Mrs. B. so that those of you who know me, know who I'm talking about. She was my mother's friend from the neighborhood, she had a son who was born a month before me and we were each others first friends. I always felt at home in their house and I can still remember the smell of their kitchen (Mrs. B. was always baking pies -- that's one memory I have of her -- always baking). When I was in college, I found out that she was diagnosed with ALS, and my mom and I would visit her whenever I was home on break. We'd sit with her and chat and laugh or talk about her treatment and pray and cry. As the illness progressed, I'd chat while my mom cleaned her house, or painted her nails, or wrote down the details Mrs. B. wanted at her memorial service.
The card is a thank you note from one of my visits with her. In it, she included Jeremiah 29:11-13:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
And then, she wrote about how she knew me before I was born, and how she knows that God has good plans for me. Needless to say, I cry every time I read the note -- because I miss her, and I wish we'd had more time. It's funny, the card moves directly from the verse into her writing, "I knew you before you were born..." and I always read that as part of the verse (every time!), and then I realize it's her saying it to me ... and that's usually when the crying begins. Anyway, she was an amazing woman and I think about her and her family all the time and that card is the thing I hold most dear in my box of memories.

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.  -Philippians 3:20-21

1 comment:

  1. Makes me cry too. She was a blessing to know, a true ambassador for Jesus Christ, which is what she called herself. We will see her when we get there. BTW, I still have the card she wrote to me.