It almost feels like it was yesterday. In my mind’s eye I can see my bride, Brenda, walking down the aisle, gorgeous, white dress, veil covering her face, her dad confidently walking by her side, moments away from entrusting her to me as her husband. It is a memory I will never forget.
Twelve years later Brenda and I are huddled together in the kitchen of a friend in Wroclaw, Poland, both of us weeping as the reality of having to return to the United States due to Brenda’s failing health crushes us. Our dream of serving and loving the Polish people we had grown to love dashed on the rocks of illness. It is a memory I will never forget.
Two years after returning from Poland I turned 40. As I walked into my home I was greeted by many of our good friends, all dressed to look as if they were in their late 80s, complete with gray hair, walkers and canes and suspenders. They had gathered for my wake, Brenda’s creative way to celebrate my birthday. No one would talk to me because I was dead! It wasn’t until Steve and Sue sang, “Poor Warren’s dead….” that everyone wished me a happy birthday. It is a memory I will never forget. I am still looking for a way to create a memory for Brenda she will never forget! Any ideas?
I could fill this blog with many other special memories, both big and small that have made my life rich and beautiful and meaningful. The marriage of both Chris and Dan to their incredibly beautiful and talented wives, the birth of our three grandchildren, the day we were giving the diagnosis of David’s disease, an ice cream cone with my two year old grandson, our first David’s Refuge guests ringing the door bell for our first weekend of respite, the police searching my basement for an intruder that turned out to be Barney throwing rocks at a chicken, and so many more. Someone once wrote, ” A memory is a way of holding onto things you love, the things you are, and the things you never want to lose.”
What is it that made these events stick in my mind as opposed to the million other events I have no recollection of anymore? Here are few things that I noticed. They almost always occurred with people I love. They were all mountain top or deep valley experiences. They were unusual or novel. Many were moments of great pride or celebration. They often required me to get out of my comfort zone and try something new. It often occurred when I worked with someone to create or enjoy something new and out of the ordinary.
In many ways these memories act like a glue that hold me and my family and friends together. So I am all about making memories a priority in my life. I have learned that if I want great memories I have to create them. It takes initiative and effort.
So let me ask you, what is one of your favorite memories? It doesn’t have to be something huge. Brenda and I just planted a raised garden of beans together. Everyday we weed the box and are waiting for the little plants to pop their heads out of the ground. We are making a memory. It is something novel for us, it is something we are doing together. It’s something we are going to be able to share with others when they finally mature. So what is a memory that you love?
If you are having a hard time coming up with one why not consciously try to make one? Do something out of the ordinary. Go to a restaurant you have never been to and don’t order the hamburger. Order the escargot! I promise you will have a memory. And don’t go alone. Invite someone to watch you eat the escargot. They too will never forget the experience. Plan a party! For what? Anything! It’s Wednesday and the sun is out. Throw an “It’s Wednesday and the sun is out” party. Include friends and food and laughter. All three are good for the soul and for making memories that last. Sign up for a weekend of respite with David’s Refuge or one of our rhythm of respite events. I can promise you that you will create a memory.
Share one of your memories with us. It is a great way to remind us all that we are not alone, what we do matters, and that God loves us all.