Are you forgetful? I have noticed as I age that my 'forgetter' is improving rapidly while my 'rememberer' is declining at about the same rate. I prefer to think my forgetfulness is simply selective remembering. There are some things I can remember better with a small amount of memory rehearsal. I pulled my long winter coat out of the closet the other day and prepared to bundle up when I noticed the scarf pictured here lying on the shelf.
I'm not necessarily the scarf wearing kind of guy, but it has been getting colder and I am getting older so I grabbed it and wrapped it around my neck. Immediately, I was transported back about 3 or 4 years ago to a moment when this scarf was given to me. My friend, Edith, had recently lost her father and was slowly grieving through his passing. She was sorting through some things her dad had treasured and decided to gift two of his scarves to me. What an honor!
As I wrapped the scarf around my neck the other day, the softness and immediate warmth embraced me and more importantly stirred my memory. I stopped for a moment and remembered Mr. C. He was an engineer and Mr. fixit. His love of tinkering and figuring things out was a great conversation starter. He loved coffee and was an expert at making it. He loved his family and provided for them.
His death came and went. The family muddled through. I'm sure even now there is a great hole left behind by Mr. C's passing. Nothing can ever fill that void. His scarf is a gentle reminder to me of our conversations, laughter, and relationship. As I thought of these things, I reached up and grabbed both ends of the scarf and tugged it a little tighter around my neck and simply remembered. In fact, as I write this, my eyes are filling with tears as I remember Mr. C and my own losses. I cherish the memories of grandparents, a father, and various aunts and uncles who impacted me so much.
As December churns forward and Christmas draws near, our losses can really wreck our joy. Grief drains the soul of hope and leaves us gloomy. If I can leave you with a glimmer of good news, it is this.
"Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers (and sisters), stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:51-58, NIV)
Jesus Christ brings healing and hope to us as we remember those we have lost. He gives us the victory over sin and death. Because he does these things, we are reminded daily of his great love. Go ahead, find something your loved one treasured and pick it up and hold it a little closer. Remember and thank God for Jesus.