It Takes Me Back

This morning I woke up, stuffed a 23-pound turkey and slipped it into the oven. No, do not check your calendars. And no, even though I am quite a few 24 hours down the road, I have not lost all sense of time. It is not Thanksgiving anyplace (except maybe in my heart). I just felt like making turkey. My wife loves the stuffing and it makes great leftovers.

And one more thing about making a turkey–in a few hours the aroma will start to fill the house. There is not much in this world that fills our home with such mouth-watering, warm smell. And along with that aroma comes memories.

There are various things that can take me back to thinking about the past. The smell of roasting turkey takes me back to Thanksgiving 1971, in this same house by the way, when I first met Diane’s, my then fiancé’s family. I remember wondering just what I was going to encounter as Diane shared that her father did not talk very much. She was right, but that did not change things a lot as now in 2018 we are still together and married 43 years.

Certain songs tend to turn my thoughts to periods of my past. When we hear songs like Killing Me Softly with His Song, Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown, Precious and Few, and You are Everything, we say to each other, “A Pizza Inn song.” We spent a few evenings there in our college days and the memories still warm us.

There are a couple of chaise lounges hanging in our garage, the kind with woven plastic webbing. We use them for camping. Occasionally when I see them my thoughts return to one trip where we made the mistake of pitching our tent in a low area. Well, there was a rather substantial thunderstorm that night and we woke to a new stream running through the middle of the tent. Diane and I were okay as we were sleeping on those lounges. The kids ended up wringing themselves out and spent the rest of the night sleeping in the van.

Camping takes me back to the infamous Father’s Day camping trip which was the subject of a blog a while ago. (September 25th, 2016 It’s an Adventure) Both of those events seemed very uncomfortable at the time, but as memories, I can now smile.

As I happen upon pictures we have taken, memories tend to overload my mind. Last spring I talked about addiction and drug abuse to the confirmation class my son teaches. To give the kids a thrill, I included a picture of my son when he was about 8 years old. It was fun and the kids did have a few funny comments but it also brought back some uncomfortable feelings for me as I was still drinking at the time the picture was taken. (May 20th, 2017 Memories Still Lurk).

There have been many pictures since then and a good number of them center on our 14 grandchildren. The memories brought to mind by these pictures are so positive. I was not sure if I knew how to be a grandfather, but I am learning. As I look at those pictures, I am filled with wonder as I am reminded of how their faith in their Savior is growing. I am not sure how much they understand about Jesus; but I know they believe he loves them and came to die to take away all of their sins. That is the faith that saves them.

As I write this I wonder about memories in others–like our remaining dog, Driver. I shared earlier about how we lost our older dog, Trey (February 15th, 2018 God is Good) and how sad that was for us. Trey, being old and having issues with sore joints, had a special memory foam bed that was only his. Driver loved that bed and would slip into it for naps whenever Trey wasn’t in it. Strangely, since Trey was put down, Driver will not go near that bed. In fact, he would push it off the couch on which he is allowed to sleep. We disposed of that dog bed but I wonder, did it take Driver back to when his “brother” was still around?

I could go on for a lot longer as like most, my memories seem to be without end. But when I spend too much time looking back, I usually run smack into something negative in the present. I read in Isaiah 43:18-19 Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

I understand that to mean a few things, at least for me. The past is something I cannot dwell on. If I do, I may become entrenched in my past failures. Or I may see something positive and wish I was living back then. Both of those are dangerous for me. Remembering the past to learn and recognize blessings is one thing. To dwell means to be stuck. How can I grow when I am in that place.

God says he is doing something new. He is making a way for me in my life. I may not see where that path is leading me–yet. But I know I can trust him. After all, he sent his Son to die for me and took care of my eternal future. He will not leave me either stuck in my past or wandering to find a way in the present. He loves me.

Many things in this world can and will take me back to my past. That can be both good and uncomfortable. But my future does not lie there. Jesus has already assured my future. So, I guess all that is left is to enjoy the way that God has laid out for me. That sounds pretty good.

Oh and by the way, what takes you back?

Maybe you would care to share. I will wait you.

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