I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. 2 Timothy 1:5 (NIV)

To read this blog post you need to start humming ‘The Way We Were’ as sung by Barbra Streisand.

“Memories, light the corners of my mind

Misty watercolor memories of the way we were.

Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind

Smiles we give to one another

For the way we were”

 

The last couple of months have been a little tough for me. Nothing bad or serious really. The journey has just been a little more than hectic. Unfortunately the thing that has taken the biggest toll has been my writing.

My time away from the pen (er, keyboard) hasn’t been wasted. I’ve enjoyed time with my family, time with my God and time with the great outdoors. So, what did I do this summer? I reminded myself of the importance of memories. The reminders were neither subtle nor painless. Memories, I’ve determined aren’t so plans in life as they are the life in the plans.

This summer my wife, her two daughters and I visited a small state forest campground that she’d gone to in her childhood. Twice a year she and her parents made the five hour pilgrimage north to get away from the city and away from people. It wasn’t a large lake. The fishing wasn’t fantastic, but they always had fish. No TV. No electricity. Not even any cell phone signal. But the place was huge in her mind.

We spent three days there. We did some fishing. It wasn’t great, but we caught enough for a great fish-fry. We re-walked the paths she’d walked and remembered the stories she’d told. We learned how to live without cell phones and electrical outlets.

When we left, my wife (who is nearly as big a sap as I am, but not quite) cried. No tears of regret or sadness, tears of joy. This place was so much a part of her. This place was a large piece of the puzzle that made her who she is. Even though none of us had ever been here, we were all returning to a place in our hearts because it was a place of her heart.

Like the young college student said to me once, “I know my parents loved me. They worked so hard to give us what we needed and wanted. But I don’t have any memories. We didn’t spend time with each other. Everything revolved around activity and not relationship.” His parents had missed the most important thing because activity in and of itself doesn’t build relationship, time together does. And memories come from time together.

As we began our own journey home I thought about what just happened and the verse in 2 Timothy came to mind. Timothy was a special person in Paul’s life. He was grounded in relationship. He was grounded in faith. Those two worked together to make him what he was.

Some say you should never mix religion and politics and that statement is true. Religion is nothing more than rules and politics are the same. But, our relationship with Jesus must permeate every aspect of our lives in order to build the character that will take us through the obstacles of our journey ahead.

I dare say that Timothy’s mother and grandmother didn’t raise Timmy with ministry in mind. They raised him with life in mind. Ministry grew from their efforts to prepare him for life. Each of us has ‘memories in the corners of our minds’. Events that make us who we are today. Some of those may be painful. Use them to comfort others in pain. Some may be happy, share them to life someone’s day. We may never be the ‘way we were’ but regardless, we can use ‘the way we were’ to encourage someone ‘where they are.’

PRAYER: Father God, I look at the path I’ve trod so far in life. I’ve stumbled over plenty of rocks, fallen on some slippery ground and missed a few curves. I thank you for the grace you’ve given me through Jesus to carry on. Help me to use the time I have left to make other’s lives better. In Jesus’ name I pray this, Amen.

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