Friday, January 23, 2015

Focus Friday: Let's Focus on Memories

I've been going through some old files full of pictures and letters in one of my file cabinets the last couple of days. (We won't talk about the many other things I should probably be doing.) It has been really fun to walk down memory lane and read letters from friends, look at pictures people have sent over the years, look at nice thank you notes and greeting cards people have given us, and find things I didn't even remember I had. Here's the inside of a Mother's Day card Erin made for me in 1999:

In case you can't read it, it says "If I had 3 moms because they kept dying, you would be the best one!" Isn't that sweet? :-) (She was only 7.)

If I hadn't gone through my files, I wouldn't have found that little gem. My heart was warmed by memories of friends that I've lost touch with and reminders of friends I've made in recent years, as well as friends I've corresponded with for years and years. Sure, I weeded out some letters that no longer meant much to me, but there were many that I read over and put right back in the file because they brought a smile to my face and warm feelings to my heart.

I remember when I was in college and I saw that one of my friends had ripped up a letter from her mom and thrown it in the trashcan. I was appalled because words meant so much to me. I kept every letter I received from home and treasured it. Now, looking back I realize that my friend and her mom wrote each other much more often than my parents and I did and she probably couldn't keep every letter. I've gotten a bit more selective about what I keep as well. Today I found myself tossing quite a few Christmas form letters from years ago. They were interesting to read at the time, but my friends and family are different now and I don't need all of the facts from 1995. I found it much more difficult to throw away a thoughtful, handwritten letter because it contained much more personal information and memories of times that person and I had shared. 

I can't keep everything anyone ever writes to me, but you can bet I'll keep most of them so I have something special to read when I'm old and gray (oops, starting to get there already!).

We can't live in the past, but memories are something we can treasure as we go through life. Our minds start to fail us as we get older, so it's good to have pictures, letters, and mementos to jog our memories and remind us of special people we've known and events we've lived through.

I'm so thankful for each and every person God has brought into my life in the last 48 years, and I can't wait to see who He will arrange for me to meet in whatever years I have left. Life sure is exciting, isn't it?

"I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:3-6 NIV)

Is it time to look through old letters and photos and relive some memories? How can focusing on memories give us the strength and confidence to move forward in life and make some new memories?

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