Jackson Five Friday: Telling Our Stories

My son, Will, paid me a great, although somewhat indirect, compliment this week.  We were talking about swimming and how we hope Sammy will swim on the team this year.  This led of course to comparisons of when Will and Nate started swimming competitively.  Will said he didn’t really remember swimming on the loosely organized five-year-old “team” when we lived in Florida.  But Nate, who was then three, said, “You don’t remember that place?  Remember it was weird to get in there, and mom and I would always play ping pong and she’d get me a Snickers.”  Which of course was all true.

I told them about the fact that at Will’s first practice I bought Nate a Snickers out of a vending machine.  Maybe it was the first time he’d ever had one, but the next week he said, “Can we go get D4?”  It took me a minute to realize he was talking about the vending code.  And I wasn’t a bit surprised when his memory proved correct.  Snickers was the D4 option.

We laughed about this, and then Will said, “I don’t know if other families tell stories like our family does.”  He doesn’t really have room to compare.  After all, he’s only been part of one family, but it is a sweet sentiment nonetheless.

Obviously all families tell stories, but I do make remembering and telling stories a priority.  I have memorialized so many great things that my boys have done and said through this blog, through Facebook (which is irresistibly easy and available), and through journals.  I have one “Joshua” journal dedicated to the amazing ways that God has comforted, loved and provided for me and mine in difficult times.  It also records special and unexpected blessings.   For example, it was the only place that I wrote about the miscarriage that I had exactly one year before Sammy was born.  Yet this journal also has an entry about how just a couple months before my seemingly healthy dad died, I had the unusual opportunity to spend a few days with just him.  Because the flights were full and my parents fly space available, only my dad was able to make it back from Michigan to Florida.  In the journal I talk about how proud my dad was of me over my recent job offer.  I had a truly amazing job waiting for me after law school and boy did he think that was great!  I also recorded in this journal how he made me breakfast every day before I headed down to the beach.  You think you will remember these things, but let me tell you, you won’t.  I am blessed with a very good memory, but I still read about events I’ve recorded and they sound only vaguely familiar.  And to capture the true voice of child, which is invariably precious and unique, you absolutely need to do it on the spot.  Video alters personalities, and are practically useless in capturing candid, true-to-life people.  So I cannot encourage you enough to memorialize your life by journaling in one way or another.

Of course laughs and achievements are great, yet nothing is as important as remembering God’s faithfulness. On the first page of my Joshua Journal I have the passage from Joshua 4 which talks about the stones which were intended to serve as a memorial so that future generations would be told about God’s faithfulness.  I have recorded a number of events in a very detailed way, but I want to be more consistent.  I want to pass this along one day and have it be a testament to the peace, meaning and purpose that God has given me in days of sorrow and days of great joy.  I want my life to proclaim the faithfulness of God.  In.  All.  Things.  And to do that I need to record it.  May I be committed to acknowledging His faithfulness and to writing it down.

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