In my years I have learned that I have incredible memory for some things and a rather poor memory for some others. When it comes to movie quotes from my childhood and facts I memorized then I do quite well. But, sometimes with people I am like that owl in the geico commercial who can’t remember someone he has met numerous times. Lately I have been remembering a lot. Little things of Allie which bring a smile to my face. The way she did things, the things she liked and cared about, her mannerisms and smile, the sound of her voice and better yet the sound of her laugh. The kids and I will pause and remember something about mommy as it comes up in conversation, such as her favorite foods, colors, and clothes. Then we get back to the moment and its needs. Yesterday, I read Psalm 143 and it spoke to the spiritual significance of the art of remembering.
For the enemy has pursued my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead. Therefore my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled. I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands. I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Answer me quickly, O Lord! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. (Psalm 143:3-8 ESV)
I can sympathize with the authors position from verses 3-4 where he feels crushed and his spirit falters under the weight of hardship. But, the thing which saves him from giving up is remembering. He remembers what God has done, he focuses on reminding himself of the reality of God and the goodness of God displayed in his life and his community. This remembering changes his demeanor from depressed to desirous. His soul is no longer faint but instead the art of remembering awakens his desire for God. The presence of God in memory and reality are what get him through. When he is reminded of God’s steadfast love then he can stand strong in the face of his pain. And he finishes with a plea that we can all grasp, “make me know the way I should go.”
Since Allie is gone I find memories to be a source of comfort. Remembering her and how she was feels like home to me, safe and familiar. Remembering how powerfully the Lord used her fills me with gratitude. How she was used by God to shape me, how she raised our kids, how so many were touched by her amazing capacity to love and how so many were encouraged to know Jesus better by how she reflected Him. Like the psalmist I want to know the way to go. As I look ahead I am unsure of so much. But, when I look back and remember, I know I have the resources to walk that road. I have the memory of the steadfast love of my Savior and the memory of how good God has been to me by the gift of Allie. It is when I forget that I struggle. So I will keep practicing the art of remembering.