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Friday, July 29, 2016

Moments or Monuments?

There is an old saying:  Something crooked cannot be made straight, and something missing cannot be counted.  (Ecclesiastes 1:15 VOICE)  

Corrie Ten Boom said, "Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future."  There is a song entitled "Dear Younger Me" by MercyMe.  The song begins, "Dear younger me, where do I start; if I could tell you everything I have learned so far, then you'd be one step ahead..." Boy, isn't that the desire of every parent?  To somehow share with our children the things we have learned in the "school of hard knocks" and repeated "recesses of rebellion".  Those memories don't have to haunt us - for they can be, as Corrie said, the key to different steps in the future. Those "different" steps may bespeak of deeper faith, a more solid trust in someone other than yourself, or a greater understanding of how to avoid the pitfalls that come our way.  If I had to tell parents these days one word of advice, I'd probably say something like:  "Make the moments, not the monuments".

I don't remember the ranks to which my father rose in any of his jobs.  I remember the days by the creek, catching fish, enjoying nature.  I remember the long Sunday afternoon drives and the time he let me take a starfish home from the tide pools along the beaches in Southern California.  I remember the card games on summer nights, with good friends gathered around the table after supper, and all the laughter as the night went on.  So many parents today are so busy with the pursuit of career or aspirations of some type they miss the whole connection of the moments which are passing them by quicker than they realize. We can get so caught up in the monuments we are attempting to build in this world that we just plain miss the moments!

As Solomon discovered, you cannot make the crooked straight - once it has been made crooked, it is a much harder task to make it straight again.  Don't believe me?  Crumple up a piece of paper and see how "straight" or "flat" you can make it again.  In the end, it may resemble the former state of "straightness" or "evenness" it once had, but it takes a great deal of effort to get it that way again.  The moment to admire and utilize the evenness of that paper is gone!  It passed us by.  Now we are left with the crumpled paper - useful still, but not as it was originally designed or intended.  He also mused, "Something missed cannot be counted" - a lesson we'd all do well to learn.

After all is said and done, memories remain.  We can dwell in them, sometimes even too much so, but we cannot recreate them.  They are "past" - as such, they are something we can hold onto, use as an assessment of what was "good" or "bad" in that moment, and then identify how that moment can become the catalyst for a new "moment" today which becomes a new memory.  We can focus on the monument, getting our eyes off the moments which are passing us by, but we won't have as rich of a storehouse to take into those monuments as we might like.  Just sayin!