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Friday, February 19, 2016

Memories

"Suffering passes, while love is eternal. That's a gift that you have received from God. Don't waste it." (Laura Ingalls Wilder)  I once heard it said it isn't the days in life which we really form memories around, it is more the moments in life which we latch onto and place carefully away in the recesses of our memories.  Days come and go, not really with much significance attached to any of them - they are kind of routine with no lasting memory.  Then there are those moments in time when we just will not forget the thrill, enjoyment, or perhaps the grief of that moment.  Speak with someone who has lost a loved one and they tend to remember the good things, not so much the suffering and tragedy which took the loved one from them.  Love is eternal - suffering passes - sometimes slower than we might like, but it does.  Yes, we shall endure hardship, but it is God's love which beckons us onward from the midst of hardship into the warmth of his tender arms.

He consoles us as we endure the pain and hardship of life so that we may draw from His comfort and share it with others in their own struggles. (2 Corinthians 1:4 VOICE)

Is it possible to waste the gift of love God has given us?  I think it might just be possible, but if we are careful to hold onto those memories, it is less likely to happen.  Pain and hardship won't escape us all the days of our lives - we are bound to come face-to-face with it at some time.  When we do, we can form awkwardly difficult memories of those moments, rehearsing them over and over again until they are burned into the recesses of our minds; or we can let them fade in time under the refreshing and renewal of God's love washing over those memories like water washes over the canyon's floor.  

Yes, those are deep places in our lives - places we didn't want to ever go - but places which house a beauty all their own.  It just takes his love to help us realize the canyon is not going to consume us, but help us to be built stronger.  What we draw from his comfort in those "canyon moments" are not things we are to hold to ourselves.  In the most literal sense, these are to become "shared learning".  Those around us also go through those "canyon moments" - maybe not exactly like ours, but deep places of what appears to be no escape.  The mind begins to see nothing but the walls of the canyon and feel the coldness of those walls all around them. Yet, when we come alongside, sharing the reality of how God can draw us out of the pain and struggle of that "canyon place", there is a spark of hope given which is often all another needs to begin to see a way out of that deep canyon.

When we console someone, we are actually helping to lessen their grief, sorrow, or disappointment.  It is usually something which comes out of some type of sharing of the memories we have associated with various moments in our lives.  Those who hold up those bad memories, never to share them with others, are probably not able to get beyond those memories themselves.  They need the help of another to see beyond the walls of the canyon of grief, disappointment, or sorrow those events have left in their lives.  God's love echoes within those canyon walls whenever we begin to share the ways God has touched us in our own canyon experiences. Those sounds of his voice begin to reverberate into the recesses of our companion's heart until we begin to see the effect of those words of love healing, restoring, and regenerating their heart.  

Sorrow, disappointment, and grief are not meant to be born alone.  We may want to pull away in those moments, but what we need most is the companionship of others who have been in those canyon places themselves.  In the moments which have elapsed between their loss and ours, there are likely great lessons of love and healing which have occurred. We draw from each of life's challenges, but we form memories of those things which helped us the most.  Isn't it about time we take those memories of God's love to those who need to also form those memories themselves?  Just askin?