Tuesday, August 03, 2010


In conversations and in the comments from yesterday's blog, just about everyone would grab pictures if their home was threatened with fire. Why is that so? Are our memories that bad?

I know my memory neglects the little things while honing in on major events or milestones. So pictures remind us of the moment the picture was taken, inconsequential or momentous. They capture the instant of a smile, of a word, of joy expressed however briefly.

"...do this in remembrance of me." (Luke 22:19)

How many photo albums do you have?

How often do you pull them out?

What's your favorite picture?

Jesus told his disciples to remember the Last Supper in the above passage. At the time, it was just another Passover dinner. Another time hanging out with Jesus. They didn't know what was about to come, but Jesus did. Jesus also knew that his disciples, when looking back, would likely remember the major events (the trial, the carrying of the cross, the crucifixion, and of course the resurrection) but would struggle to remember the individual conversations from that last night.

"Then they remembered his words." (Luke 24:8)

What one major event will you always remember, as long as you live?

Do you remember the dinner the night before that event?

When we take vacations in the summer, one of the goals of course is to get a break and have some fun. But it is more about the memories. As kids we have no idea the stress our parents feel as they pack the bags and load the car. As adults we forget the simple joy of our children getting to go someplace new.

I remember as a kid taking a road trip from my home in central Wyoming down to Phoenix to visit family. I remember playing games on the road, fighting with my sister over who got to sleep on the seat and who had to sleep on the floorboard (this was before car seats and seat belt laws), and collecting every menu, matchbook, and postcard we could find along our route to scrapbook our journey. Of course, the scrapbook has long since been lost and specific details of the trip vague, but I remember having fun.

My favorite summer memories were the road trips I'd take with my grandma to visit her brother and his family. He was my favorite uncle who I loved for taking me fishing, spending the whole day on the water talking about everything and nothing. I treasured the time alone with my grandma over the hundreds of miles on the road. I relished the scenery. We had our traditional stops along the way- a specific restaurant for a hot roast beef sandwich, a certain diner for a milkshake. As I grew older, she even let me drive part of the way. Even after my uncle passed away, we continued the trip.

As I write, a million memories flood my mind. I remember other vacations, visiting my mom's side of the family in Georgia. I remember trips to the beach, the hot sun, and the inevitable sunburns. As I wax nostalgic, tears well up in my eyes and my heart chokes up. And I admit that I couldn't find a single picture from these trips if I tried.

"Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see." (Ecclesiastes 11:9)

What is your favorite vacation memory from childhood?

As an adult, vacations take on a different meaning. Sure, we want to get away from the job, from the responsibilities of our home, from the daily grind in general. But with children, I want to create special memories for them. I want them to look back at their childhood as fondly as I do mine. And I want those special moments to be shared together as a family, united in joy.

My son is at an age where he loves to tell me about everything. He especially loves to ask, "do you remember...?" Everything is big to him. Everything keeps him in awe. His little sister is catching on, wanting to join in those conversations even though her memories aren't as long. They both remember the trips, the rides at Disneyland, the camping, the beach as if they were everyday occurrences. They talk about them as if they were yesterday (in fact my son hasn't yet learned to discern time, so everything that happened before today was "yesterday"). I pray we get to continue to build those memories as they grow older and our lives grow increasingly hectic.

"Remember your Creator
in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come
and the years approach when you will say,
'I find no pleasure in them'- " (Ecclesiastes 12:1)

What is your favorite vacation memory as an adult?

It's amazing how memories were kept before the invention of photography. Imagine living without the hundreds of pictures stored on your hardrive. Memories were kept by telling stories and writing journals, being passed on through the generations. The Bible is a collection of such memories, passed along the same way. There are no pictures of Jesus, yet his disciples were commanded to remember him. "Remember" shows up 233 times in the Bible. It is as important today as it was then to remember God's Covenant, to remember Jesus' sacrifice, to remember "the sins of our youth". If a fire were to destroy everything we own, all we are left with are our memories.

What will you remember?

Today continues this summer's 'virtual small group' (VSG in the tags). I hope you come back as I take this season to reflect on the wonders of God's creation, share vacation stories, etc, with the prayer that we come out of this season closer to God than how we came into it.


JC Dude said...

What is your favorite vacation memory as an adult?

The first one I took with my wife will always be the best . We stayed at a small Bed & Breakfast in RI....ah, young love!

Michael Perkins said...

What is your favorite vacation memory from childhood?

Going to watch the Red's play and meeting Pete Rose in the stands.

Fatha Frank said...

@Jay, great memory. "Rejoice in the wife of your youth" I've never taken my wife to a B&B. Great idea.

@Michael, did you bet on the game (sorry!)? Actually, I'm one of the few that actually likes Rose (as a player, not necessarily as a person).

Anonymous said...

cool sharing.
Ecclesiastes 12:1 was good thoughts today.
and glad you are going to join in on the conversation of the book.
i am starting out slow in the posting to give everyone a chance to get the book, yet, still have the interaction going on. slow is good. i don't think we need to rush through the pages anyway.

Fatha Frank said...

@n Davis: thanks for stopping by! I'm looking forward to the book discussion. I'll have plenty of time to catch up next week- gonna have a lot of time on a plane. This discussion continues every Tuesday but I post throughout the week.

Jonathan Pearson said...

Appreciate your comment on my blog. Glad I found you here. Love the background to your blog! I'll be visiting often now!

Fatha Frank said...

@Jonathan: Glad you found me too! Loving the discussion you're having. Way to kick up a hornet's nest, but well worth it.