Preserving the Memories


When I view a photo like this one, taken at Christmas in 2008, I cannot believe how fast time has flown and how grown up Austyn Grace looks in this year’s Christmas pictures when compared to this picture of her as a 17-month-old. Grandpa, except for a longer beard these days, looks much the same.

Children waiting to take a vacation, get a puppy, earn a driver’s license, or open Christmas gifts, believe the moment will never arrive. However, their parents and grandparents view time from an entirely different perspective. The older generations speak of time as flying and each year seeming shorter than the last. Who hasn’t thought about wanting to keep babies small? What Mom hasn’t lamented,”They’re just growing up too fast”!

How do you go about preserving the memories? Photos? Video clips? Shared experiences? Whatever methods a family chooses, they need to revisit and retell so the next generation will know more of their history.

I have only one brother, but whenever Ken gives a gift, a story accompanies the present. “Now, before you open that,” he”ll start.

“Oh, no,” one of his for sons often responds.

And as the wrapping comes off, or the tissue paper begins to fly in multiple directions, Ken jumps in, “This reminds me of the time when we all went…”

Needless to say, celebrations that involve gift giving take a while in the Baker household. But if I stop and listen, I notice smiles, a quiet remark shared between a couple of people, nodding heads, and sometimes, outright belly laughs! (Understand that between the Ken and Sandi Baker household and the  Dave and Flo Wolfe Den, we raised six guys! Enough said!)

Family history relived and enjoyed.. for some, often repeated stories, but for others, statements like “I don’t remember having heard that,”  or “No way! When? You really did that? Did you get caught?”

“Absolutely,” says Ken, and he’s off explaining the details!

I started thinking about preserving memories in December when I attended the funeral of a former student,a beautiful wife and mother of two girls. And with this blog partially done, I realized today would have been Lisa’s 44th birthday. At the memorial service, her daughters Allison and Emily, at 11 and 8, wanted to know stories of their Mom when she was younger. Because one of Lisa’s high school friends had thoughtfully brought the ’85 and ’86  yearbooks with her, Aunts Laurie and Kathleen got to show their nieces the six-foot A that classes used to hide within a one-mile radius of the campus and then try to find. This high school hide and seek highlighted Spirit Week at Annapolis Area Christian School for many years. After explaining the story, Lisa’s sisters asked those attending the luncheon to please write down any of the stories they may remember of Lisa’s teenage years.

Yesterday, another AACS alum’s funeral took place. Like Lisa, Todd died of cancer, but at age 38, he leaves a wife, and his two little girls are one and four. I pray that family and friends will tell Todd’s full-of-life stories to Sasha and Sonya as they grow up. I understand that Todd’s wrestling coach, Dick Bitzer, shared both the funny tales from Todd’s life, and also the greatest story of all, the gospel of Jesus Christ. Perhaps all of us will purpose to share the story of salvation and the story God writes during our days here on earth.

The Israelites used to heap stones together so future generations would ask questions. Joshua, chapter 4, describes such a time. “When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the LORD said to Joshua, ‘Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan from right where the priests stood and to carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.’ So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, ‘Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.’”

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