A new year has begun as Time steadily journeys forward. While my mind sifts through the words that could be typed on to this page, my eyes wander out the window, passed the edge of our porch railing, over the rooftops of the neighboring apartment buildings, above the tree line and up to the peak of the mountain range in the distance. And so it is for my mind seeking to grasp the concept of Time passing. I think about the year so freshly concluded: back surgery, a new baby, the passing of three friends from this life to the next. The year before that: the passing of my dear old kitty, a new baby, the conclusion of my teaching career. The year before that: Marriage, my fiancé’s deployment, engagement. The year before that: courtship, meeting my treasured great aunt, meeting my future husband, the adventures of teaching…And so it continues…reaching, reaching, ever reaching for those intangible wisps of life passed, called Memories. What is life but the creation, collection, and recollection of memories? Who are we without them?
With each year that passes my memories take on greater value; I become more intentional about the memories that I create. Perhaps it is motherhood. I find my mind drifting back to my library of childhood memories and meandering down the lanes that only a child’s imagination could create. Most of them bring smiles to my face while nostalgia wraps around my heart like a warm blanket. My children need the opportunities to create such memories. They will need that treasure trove of moments lived richly to pull from when they encounter the certain difficulties of grown up life. For isn’t that why we hug our memories close when the storms of life assail us, and we are battered and bruised by the present? Our memories remind us that it won’t always be this way, that we have been loved and will be loved again, that we are strong and will only get stronger, that we have smiled before and our smile will return? But the past does not become the future, and good memories do not come from the present poorly lived. It is through intentionally living each day well that will provide us with the satisfaction of looking into the face of yesterday and the day before that and the day before that.
And so, as I step into 2016 with traces of the old year surrounding me: the clutter of de-decorating, pine needles strewn upon the ground, and one final cycle through my Christmas music, I am resolving that this year will be a year of investing in memories.
This year I will invest in myself: more reading to cultivate my mind, more writing to refine my thoughts, and less material indulgence to reorient my priorities.
This year I will invest in my friends: more in-person visits, more birthday celebrations, and more effort to pray for them.
This year I will invest in my children: less time on my phone while I am caring for them, less on my schedule so that I can indulge in the every day delights that they bring my way, and more time playing on the floor.
This year I will invest in my husband: more time in prayer for him, more effort given to pointing out his strengths rather than his weaknesses, and less tolerance of my negative attitudes.
This year I will invest in Jesus: more diligence applied to having devotions at the beginning of my day, more readiness to serve those I would normally brush aside, and less complaining when He refines my character.
It is my hope and prayer that this time next year will find me reliving 2016 with a satisfaction that only come from memories well-made.