So. Do you like my new blog header? Oh, the amazing, peaceful, sunny memories I have of this 'raft' I created in the middle of my farm garden! I'd sit out there upon the boards (with no table and chairs, actually) and splash water from my watering can around so that the boards felt lakeside-pier-like. I hid my introverted self amongst the sunflowers and tomato and squash plants and felt out-of-this-world blessed.
And now? I no longer live on that farm and when Tom and I drove past the old place, we saw that the garden is completely gone. Now it's just a flat, boring piece of lawn.
But I once had that garden. That deck, that hideaway. They once belonged to me. They still live inside my head, my heart, inside my memories.
No one can take them away. They are still mine.
I keep much tucked away inside those places: My memories of being a young wife with a young husband and a fit figure (oy!). A tiny Naomi who I watched, memorized all the years she lived with us. Camping and vacations to special places. Amazing church services and times with God there and here at home. Coffee dates with friends and letters and emails from them. Tom and I sharing a new favorite movie with other couples at the theater. All those yard and estate sales he and I have picked through. Moving into houses and decorating them while listening to tv shows or music.
A million memories!
And what I'm learning? Just appreciate the fact that I had those times. Never wish them back. Never regret that my life is ultra different now. Never want what is gone.
Why? Because they were already gifted to me by God, in past seasons, and to want them again and again is like expecting my Aunt Betty (if I had an Aunt Betty) to give me that same perfect tea set for Christmas year after year after year. Over and over ripping away the wrapping paper only to discover the same box showing the same tea set inside. Then setting it on top of all the other tea set boxes, all useless-like.
God's gift-giving is way, way more imaginative than that.
Oh, when I view things this way! I won't have empty nest syndrome, no disappointment that Naomi has grown-up and now lives far away. There's no trying to control her from afar. And I won't hate the changes the years have brought along within myself or anyone else, nor the changes in where I live, even though it's 2,500 miles from where many of my memories happened long ago.
And I won't wish that the Thanksgiving gatherings of long ago were here again for me in 2012.
No, because I had those times. I had them and now they've moved to safe places within my memory where they're treasured and brought out occasionally to shine while I'm busy making new memories with new people, places and things. All of which, too, will someday move into that Gratitude Drawer inside my heart.
Where they will stay, perhaps some of them so deep, that I'll only recall them after I burst through the doors of Heaven. But I will recall them, all of them there in that wonderful new place where memories will never be lost.
At least, that's what I believe.
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." ... James 1:17
Here's another of those wonderful videos with a surprise reunion between a military dad and his family. These never get old!