I was reading through a book of quotations recently, and I came upon this one that has just been reverberating in my heart the last few weeks. I think it hit me because I have found it to be really true.
I think this includes great memories...and not-so-great ones.
I guess to put it another way, you never know how you are being used. GOOD AND BAD. You never know when your words may breathe life into someone who needed them more than even they realized. But you also never know how that sideways glance, that disapproving look, that hurtful word may also tear someone down and leave an indelible mark on someone's soul.
Recently in our small group we've been sharing our life paths, and it has been really interesting to see what we each identified as milestones and markers in our lives. It was interesting for me to consider what had left an impression on my heart over the course of my life--memories made.
* My dad didn't know he was making a memory when he chose to be beside me on a mission trip, or that I would never forget holding his hand to pray for the people we were serving.
* My 4th grade teacher didn't know she was making a memory when she told me I'd earned an academic award, but she didn't see how I'd managed to earn one.
* My parents didn't know they were making a memory when they took me to church. I found all I needed--or would ever need--because they did.
* My mom didn't know she was making a memory when she took me to pick out a special dress for my first day of school, even though I knew money was tight for her.
* My former student's dad didn't know he was making a memory when he looked me dead in the eye and said, "You are RIGHT where you are supposed to be" regarding being home with the kids. I hadn't even asked what he thought, but boy, did I need to hear it.
* My dad and Peggy didn't know they were making a memory when they showed each other love and affection.
* My college "crush" didn't know he was making a memory when he told me I wasn't attractive enough to date, that he couldn't "get past" my looks.
* My grandfather didn't know he was making a memory all those times he cupped my face in his hands and told me how very special I am.
* My grandma didn't know she was making a memory when she sent me an email telling me how proud she is of me, and that I am right where I am meant to be.
* My mom didn't know she was making a memory by staying up late to chop up walnuts to put in our pancake mix the next day so we'd have extra protein. That "chop-chop-chop" sound was one of love.
* My sister didn't know she was making a memory when she made that sign for me when she picked me up at the airport.
* My brother didn't know he was making a memory when he had that picture of us taken together.
* My grandpa didn't know he was making a memory with all those magic tricks. Okay, so he probably DID know... :)
* My dad didn't know he was making a memory when he didn't say much and just squeezed my hand when he walked me down the aisle. I knew that was all he could do or he'd probably go into the "ugly cry!"
* Justin didn't know he was making a memory when he told me Proverbs 31:29 reminds him of me.
I've got lots more--plenty of good ones that I'd love to list, and some not good ones that shouldn't even take up space on this post. But you get the idea.
But it makes me think about being careful, mindful, intentional. What am I passing down to my children? What mark am I leaving on those I encounter? I know that two of my greatest day-to-day struggles, the areas in which the enemy has really been able to get a grip in my life--are connected to memories I've listed here. AND YET I am able to stand in confidence knowing who I am in the Lord because of times people have left me with the memory of a blessing. What a gift those people have given, probably unknowingly. But either way, we've got one life to live. We must be so careful. We have the power to damage and destroy, or to strengthen and bless--we really do.
You never know when you're making a memory.