What has been the highlight of 2015 for you so far?
A friend of mine asked me that question just the other day- and I was immediately taken aback. One eyebrow raised, I took a glance at the date in the corner of my screen thinking, "2015 is only two weeks old! How do you expect me to have a highlight yet?"
I leaned back in my chair, heaved an exasperated sigh, and figured out how I was going to respond. Do I let him know that his question faulty? That it is hardly possible to answer at the moment- seeing as I haven't had time nor a chance to experience a highlight? Or do I laugh it off and scramble to think of something? I went with the latter... but it was harder than I thought.
I began to feel a little awkward, realizing that even though it had been but 2 weeks since this year began, I was already forgetting the events of those days. It was a blur in my mind. The only memories that came to mind immediately was some formulas I had studied for my Chemistry final, my notes for my social essay, and basically all the things that I had crammed into my head because of worry. The things I had fretted about most recently were the memories I had kept- and I had instinctively discarded the memories of actual interactions with people, and actual experiences!
I've decided it's time I started looking for lessons and blessings in each day's events- the good, the bad, the ugly, the boring, the beautiful, the big, the small. These valuable tidbits of understanding, these moments of weakness, these conversations with strangers... these are the things I don't want to brush off. I could study facts, formulas, and definitions for days, and not learn anything. I don't want my mind to be filled with this knowledge that stresses me out more than it helps me grow. Rather, throughout this year, I want to be reminded of the things I've learned. I don't want to find myself entering 2016 trying to find one highlight from this year... I want to find the highlight and lowlight of every day! I want to experience and remember, so that I can be constantly taking steps forward, growing in grace and understanding.
Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.
What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time
and then vanishes.
This is the verse that has inspired me to begin a little project. It won't have a title. It's not all that exciting. It won't take up time- but it will make up for times gone by. And it's already off to a great start.
I've heard people tell me they can't remember being 12, 19, 27, 34, etc. I've heard people tell me there are some years that they feel like they skipped altogether. SO. With that in mind, I have transformed an old dance shoebox into a collection of memories. I sat down with some paper and wrote down every moment that caught my attention from these past few weeks. I was writing for over an hour. The little words I remember people saying, the things I said and regretted, the things I laughed at, the things that made me roll my eyes. I wrote down a couple things that hurt, some things that made me cringe, made me sigh, or made me sad. I wrote some of my favourite memories from 2014- but realized that so much of it is already fading fast.
This will be my box of blessings and lessons. And I'm keeping it. I might open it up at the end of this year- or I might open it up when I graduate. I might open it when I get married, or I might open it up next month. It will be a time capsule of the little details of the story that is my life. I want to write down the big things and the little things, so that when I open it again, it will be full of things that once seemed so insignificant and random, but later on meant so much more. I want to be able to open it and laugh, cry, call up a friend and say, "Remember that time when...?" I want to be able to open it up and be reminded of people I haven't talked to in forever. I want to open it up and be struck with the desire to pray for the people I've lost contact with. I want to open it up and see how God has pulled me through my mistakes.
I'm hoping this little makeshift project will encourage me to search for those moments, and I intend to remember more of them. I pray that I will start to develop a skill for noticing things like this- things that I participate in, or things that I witness from across the street. I believe that God walks with us wherever we go, as we are His children... and He sees everything around us, as well. He is omnipresent and omniscient- He knows everything that is going on; the things we see, and the things we don't. I wonder how much of the things that He sees would teach us something valuable, if only we had the eyes and ears to notice.
1 Corinthians 10:11-13~ These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age. If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
I find it so interesting how each of the four Gospels have different flavours. The way the authors and the people they wrote on behalf of remembered the life of Jesus- they are the same stories, but different parts are highlighted. Those were the moments that stood out in their minds. Those certain words that Jesus said, the discrete things He did- these writers noticed different parts of the same story, and wrote according to the parts that spoke to them. Altogether, their words create evidence for our Single Hope. Just like them, I want to write down the things that I notice- the little things that Jesus does that catch my attention.
Mark 4:24~ Then [Jesus] added, "Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given- and then you will receive even more."
So here's to the highlights and lowlights that we all will surely experience today, tomorrow, next month, and next year. Here's to the safeguarding and treasuring of the moments that God gives us the privilege of experiencing. Here's to the gift of memory- and the chance to use it wisely for learning, growing, and understanding.
Maybe you could join me! Someday, I'll read every single one of those tiny scraps of paper and see how my story has unfolded in a mere shoebox. The moments in your day that bless your socks off and the ones that aggravate you to tears... maybe don't just write them off. Write them down!