Exhausted, I stopped to catch my breath; the distance that I’d traveled was significant. I recognized the path; it had been a while, but I’d taken this route many times before. This time, though, the road was split…each side going in opposite directions. One side familiar and well-worn, the other side brambly and unbeaten. Miles of fickle sod in sight, one side moving forward, one side moving backward.
This marathon took place in a nearby, yet illusive, place. A place called Time. The setting – a winding, scenic thoroughfare in Time – a street called Memory Lane.
My exhaustion that day wasn’t due to running a race of distance, but to running a race of nostalgia.
You see, I was finally tackling a long-overdue task—sifting through umpteen boxes of all-things-maternal. These boxes held yesteryear so pristinely, so honorably, waiting for…this day. I’d originally saved these keepsakes out of necessity, as I had children growing into and out of them. Later, as the years grew, I felt paralyzed as to how to let them go in a way that would provide closure for this sentimental heart.
Truth is, I needed supernatural strength to make this trip. The fact that these boxes lay waiting for me all of these years was never lost on me. I’d long felt a heaviness of heart at the thought of having to go through them and remember. Remember bygone days of young motherhood…remember baby snuggles, and pajama-footed toddlers…remember sweaty young boys learning to ride their bikes. There are times when I feel this intrinsic bond with Jesus’ mother, Mary—often we’re told how she “pondered all of these things in her heart.” So many things a mother carries in her heart—a gracefully heavy thing, a mother’s heart is.
With traveling mercies granted, I nostalgically meandered along Memory Lane, removing the contents of each box, one by one…
Twenty-seven months of maternity clothes—clothes that I eagerly waited to fill out. And, eagerly waited to – not fill out.
Itty bitty baby clothes—the same tiny outfits I’d mooned over while pregnant, dreaming of the cherub who would fill them.
Baby bottles and sippy cups—a faded generation of beloved preschool characters displayed on them, frozen in precious time.
Plush pastel blankets in miniature—some homemade, some not. Blankets that quietly cradled my young, in Dreft-scented comfort, as they tiptoed through dreamland.
Tattered clothes of active elementary boys—my mind’s eye warmly welcoming glimpses of each of my children donning these favored play clothes.
Many a year of picture clothes—clothes that eternally grace the walls of my home; clothes that my sons wished would vanish from existence.
Man-child clothes—the ones that hold young men with deep voices; young men whose eyes I must now look up to meet.
So many miles I’ve traveled along Memory Lane— ever so gently transferring these treasures of another lifetime into donation containers, praying for the homes that receive them.
How ordinary days transform into years is a mystery to me. Once again, another year bounds in; they’re sneaky like that, rushing in before we’re ready—rushing out before we’re ready. As this new year unfolds, I want to honor the irreplaceable beauty of the past, while still setting fresh footprints on the other side of Memory Lane…the side of Time that moves tenaciously forward.
Will you meet me there? On that side of time that has yet to be consumed by yesterday—to celebrate the fleeting breath that is today? As we ponder fading yesterdays, and uncharted tomorrows, let us refuse to cheat today out of its blessed place in time. May we set out to redeem the ordinary moments in 2015, and resolve to spend them in a manner that brings glory to the Gatekeeper of Time.
Only God is privy to our tomorrows; that’s one street in Time that is inaccessible. No doubt that this year will follow the footsteps of its predecessors, relentlessly pressing ahead. Psalm 90:12 offers this fitting reminder: “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom”. Let us embrace today, with all of its precious chaos, knowing full-well that it offers something that no other place in time can offer. It offers us this hour, this minute…this very second to actively make a difference.
May the wisdom that we’ve gained on the beaten path, remind us to number our days aright with a renewed sense of this lone place in Time where we’re able to alter its landscape—making a difference, one today at a time.