A few days ago I ran across an item that said happy people have a wonderful sense of nostalgia. People who can sort the good memories out of their past seem to enjoy life in the present with a greater intensity than those who focus on the negative. That only makes sense and yet for someone who has gone through a lot of pain from the past it is not as easy as it might seem. It’s important in our lives to remember that we are not defined by our past. There are memories that need to be dealt with and often professional help is required to dig through the trauma. But, when we can remember good things that are part of our history we are always rewarded with pleasure.
I loved visiting my uncle in his big old country store. He was a man who had experienced some nasty hurts in his life but he was also full of life. He was the greatest storyteller (and I come from a family of storytellers) I ever knew. I could sit literally by the hour and listen to his memories about life in a small town, his life as a sailor, family stories and the world of store keeping. Most of all, however, I loved his memories of the characters that bought groceries from him. Though most of these people had passed on he could conger up such vivid descriptions of their words and actions that I thought I knew them. I could imagine them sitting in my chair and carrying on the conversations that my uncle was describing. He was never mean or had a negative word to say about his old friends. Instead, he just had wonderful memories that always brought laughter and a deeper appreciation of the wonderful people who once populated the village. In a way it was a connection with the past and my family roots. My uncle is now gone but I have the fondest memories of those evenings sitting in the store drinking a bottle of pop (soda) and talking the evening away with family and friends. Then walking home down across the tracks with my son on my shoulders, the warmth of the evening, the night sounds and the twinkling of porch lights as Ruth and I strolled hand in hand. I would trade all the televisions in the world for another day of that life.
Ruth convinced me the other day to go on Facebook. I resisted because I was thinking this could mean energy expended. But I gave in and though I have only been on it a few days I have to say what a wonderful experience to reconnect with good friends and make new ones. I’ve spent the last few days letting my mind wander back to my childhood and the amazing days I spent with my friend Doug tearing around the town on our bikes and laughing at the world. We both had lots of cares in our lives but the joys of those days are what I remember. Hearing from so many students that I had the privilege to teach has brought back a cascade of memories and all of them good. Some days in the environment of a boarding school could be trying but friendships and relationships kept a smile on our faces. And I thank God for all the people I once worshipped with for getting in touch. Those days as we sang our hearts out and praised God together for His love and mercy will never be forgotten.
If you’ve enjoyed this post I would like to hear about some of your memories that touch your heart and bring a smile to your face. I would appreciate it if you would leave them in the comment section because I think we all could be encouraged from each others journey in life. I can’t leave without sharing this great verse, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4: 8,9. Keep strong.