I slide into the polished pew next to D and sink into the history of this place, built over a hundred years ago, now restored. I’m immersed in a warm blend of pink and blue and green and gold, laced with intricate stenciling. A glass kaleidoscope rises on my right. Jesus and the children laugh and play in oils on the left wall. I gaze up at the blue dome above my head.
Sometimes I wish we’d married here where his family worshipped instead of in my hometown, where none of my family did.
Pastor talks about the windows–some stained, some painted–that represent scenes in the life of Jesus. Most are memorialized with names of people who poured themselves out in the past, invested in the future. I doubt they could imagine how far the seeds of their dreams would carry, that we would worship and remember in this sanctuary still 100 years later.
The title of the sermon today is “Remembering,” part of his series on the care and feeding of our souls.
He talks about journaling as a tool for remembering, where we can plant our own seeds of restoration.
He quotes C.S. Lewis, “Whenever you are fed up with life, start writing: ink is the great cure for all human ills, as I have found out long ago.”
And he tells us about Hettie, how when life got challenging, he encouraged her to keep a journal. So for twenty years, she faithfully recorded prayers and answers to prayers. Her family said that was one of her most important legacies, one of their prize possessions, these written words from a woman of prayer, stories of God alive and at work.
Later as I clean out a cluttered room, I find my mom’s letter, long forgotten, tucked inside a folder–four pages written thirteen years ago on Hummel stationery in her own script. She chats about junk mail and papers piling up, beating my dad at a game of countdown, how she thinks I might like to become a court recorder, how she still has her old IBM magnetic card system and a second computer I could have (guaranteed Y2K safe), about the possibility of a casino being built in their backyard, about needing to have her Mediport removed and concerns about all the other tests the doctor would try to talk her into and that she would do her best to avoid.
It’s a window of light into a piece of her life, made more precious by the writing of her hand. She could have shared it all in a phone call, spoken words soon forgotten. But now in these pages I gather seeds of remembrance.
Mom kept folders for each of us, filled with printed emails and jokes and pictures. I wonder how much of this helped her remember. I treasure these for the memories they grow far above the dolls she collected or the coins she bought as future investments.
I ponder how it’s in the re-membering that we restore our souls and in the writing that we restore souls.
How if we re-cord as we remember, we re-member from the record. And how our stories, the stories of what God has done, can bleed into the stories of others.
These words we scribble embraced in leather or silver spiral bound, these words that we tap our on our screens and press out into the cloud, they’re windows into our own lives, our hearts. They’re windows for generations to peer into the past.
Indeed, I’ve kept alert to GOD’s ways; I haven’t taken God for granted. Every day I review the ways he works, I try not to miss a trick. I feel put back together, and I’m watching my step. God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes. ~2 Samuel 22:22-24 (MSG)