It is amazing how tangible things can evoke some memory tucked away in the secret chambers of our thoughts. Like the changing of the seasons, like Spring.
Trees that just yesterday were leafless and barren, now burst with leaf and bud. And within the intricate xylem tissue, water and minerals are transported from the roots to all the other parts, quietly, exactly on time, exactly in season.
How comforting, that no matter what, come what may, life will go on. The trees, the seasons, are testifying to this fact.
We welcome the changes. And how do we do this? By remembering. I know with certainty that when Spring arrives, I must be ready to work the garden. I know from the past those necessary things I must do to be prepared.
For those of us who grieve over the death of a loved one our remembrances are vital to us. At times we would like time to stand still, so we can hold on to those memories.
Yet just as the seasons change, time does not stand still. The fear of forgetting, the fear of time erasing certain moments with this now departed one can cause grief in itself.
Our oldest son passed away four years ago. And though it seems just like yesterday, it also seems somehow remote. As I began to journey through my sorrow, it occurred to me that memory will now always be in the past tense.
And then I began to be concerned over not being able to recall exactly what I wanted to. Of course I had photos, and even videos, but there was a lifetime not put on film. And it needed to be in my mind and heart. And would it somehow fade away with the years?
This unfounded concern led me one day to discover what the answer was, and it was healing to my soul.
It was this. I did not have to try to work up a lost memory, because they were not lost.
Around every corner were memories of Aaron. I could be in a store, and see a baseball bat, and suddenly I would remember the time he played on a baseball team, or drive by the place we used to live, how he and his friend would go “exploring” in their so named Sherwood Forest.
I would hear a song he loved, or watch an old movie we had laughed over.
It happened naturally. There were signposts everywhere, and I found them without trying to. When we love someone, our amazing minds created by a God of unimaginable artistry, and design, nothing is ever lost in that inner labyrinth however complex. Especially those we love.
C.S. Lewis said that grief was like a valley, and as you went around the next bend, there would be a new landscape.
And just as trees, barren at times like my sadness, there would always be Spring coming, bursting with new life, and hope. The landscape of my life could be to focus on what I had, not on what was lost.
Every joy and sorrow that we have experienced are recorded, and at surprising moments we do remember. Maybe it will cause us to weep, longing to see our loved one again. But it can also bring much joy.
Just as the seasons come and go, bringing change, so we also will move forward.
Not denying our grief, but embracing each new journey here on earth. Trusting in God that nothing is ever wasted when we belong to Him.