After my parents and my husband’s parents died, I browsed through countless photos. Many of them produced questions in my mind. Who were all the people in those pictures and what was life like for them? Were we related and if so, how? Have I been influenced by their lives? If so, in what way?
Some of those old photos brought back memories. Even as I pull up Facebook or read a family member’s blog, many of the posted pictures bring back memories. Scrolling through my photo album on my laptop does the same thing. More recent than the old family photos, they still remind me of something that has happened in the past.
Often an item in my home brings back memories. If it was a gift, it reminds me of the giver and the occasion when I received it. If it was something I saved for, it reminds me of the time and effort put in to acquire it. If it was something that was an incredible bargain, it reminds me of how God has provided for me over the years.
Memories can be therapeutic or painful. Some memories bring great distress while others produce joy. Sometimes memories are a bit faulty. The good old days didn’t seem so good while we were in them; however, looking back reveals that change and progress were not always what we had hoped for.
Memories help put life in perspective sometimes resulting in a desire to return to a slower, simpler life. Remember when children played outside instead of hanging out in front of a television set? Remember when prices of gas were so much cheaper? Remember when people walked to the store because there was a local store available to walk to? Remember when a piece of pie did not put on three extra pounds? Remember when life was not so complicated?
Memories link our past with our present helping us learn from our mistakes, sometimes turning painful experiences into an empathetic understanding of others and often producing smiles when times of family, fun and fellowship come to mind. That is why Alzheimer’s disease is so devastating. Ties to the past are lost even resulting in being unable to recognize a loved one.
God knows the value of memories. Memories of our sins against Him should prevent us from doing the same thing again and the memory of our salvation experience should cause us to give thanks to Him every day.
One of the greatest values of memories is reflecting on the trustworthiness of God. I cherish the memories of every instance where He has shown me His love. He has always been there for me and He always will be. You can count on Him as well.
Then they remembered that God was their rock and the Most High their Redeemer (Psalm 78:35). He has made His wonderful works to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and full of compassion (Psalm 111:4). I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your works; I muse on the works of Your hand (Psalm 143:5).