My Broken Road to Grace: Post Seventeen (Are you honoring God by Storing Memories?)
There was a song some years now ago entitled "Stop and Smell the Roses" and one of the verses was " You better stop and smell the roses, you better count your many blessings everyday, You're gonna find the way to Heaven is a rough and rocky road, if you don't stop and smell the roses along the way." As I listened and sang along with the radio back then I never once gave a thought to the sermon that was being preached by this song or that it really had a Biblical basis. All I knew was I like the tune, it was catchy and stuck in my head. It still is and does and I will undoubtedly be humming or singing it all day today after writing this post.
Maybe, as you think about it, your mind immediately wanders to thoughts such as "OK, here comes yet another admonition to slow down and enjoy life, the best things in life are free, don't let life pass you by or no one ever said that they wish they had worked more on their death bed." While all those things are very true. I hope by writing this however, I am able to do much more and in fact influence you to realize that slowing down to consider God's creation and the beauty that exists all around us is actually a form of worship, one of the very basic forms in fact and it is something that God actually wants from us and is pleased when we do.
I don't know about you but I am what I consider to be a very audio visually motivated person. In truth I think most of us are. Certainly the arousal of the senses, sight, sound, touch, hearing and smell are all a big part of life. How many times have you heard a song from years before that immediately took you back to a time and place very different from today, a time of innocence before the realities of life had a chance to begin the process of helping you to become callous? Recently as I walked into my mothers house for a visit, the smell of what she had cooking on the stove immediately transported me to the 1970's and an old familiar feeling of walking into my grandmothers as I have done so very many times in my life. There is an instrumental entitled "The Homecoming" by Haygood Hardy and I literally cannot hear the song without being moved to tears, every single time, ask my girl friend. So if you happen to be with me somewhere and we hear it, get ready, embarrassment is on the way. I am sure that each one of us have things like that in our lives, a friend once told me that every time he smells coconut, it takes him back to the beach and his childhood and teenage years because that was the scent that was used in many sun tan oils of the day before the wonderful invention of sunscreen.
Suffice it to say then that our senses play an essential role in our ability to catalog those things that we find pleasing, store them into our memory banks and draw from them when later spurred to do so by a chance encounter. You may not realize it or have ever thought about it really but that, in and of itself, is an amazing gift from God. There is no machine, computer program, smart phone, you name it, that can, motivated purely it own senses return you to a time or place banked into your memory and stored for posterity.
Recently my son Kelly, called and as we talked he asked me what I could remember about details surrounding his salvation experience. He was young and certainly has his memories of that day but wanted to compare his memory to mine. Having been something over 25 years ago it took some thinking to recall the specifics as best I could but as I paused to think it over, the memory of that day and it's importance, the effect that it had on me as a father, my level of happiness, etc. came rushing back, a truly wonderful gift from God as well as a classic example of how God works together the events in our lives all as part of His wonderful plan. I don't know what God was doing in Kelly's life specifically but I do know what He was doing in mine by placing that particular opportunity in my path when I really needed it.
For me that is a classic example of how God's wants that gift to be used. Would it not be a sad, sad world if we as humans had no memory, could not recall those things in our past good or bad? That leads me to yet another point. Our memories are not always good, just as we can recall the happy and pleasant things that have taken place throughout our lives, so can we recall the horrible, sad and troubling things. I believe that this is also very much part of God's plan for us.
It is without question that we learn from our mistakes and go about making corrections inside both our thinking and our behavior as a result of what we learned from them, memory is a big part of that process. In fact it would be quite impossible without memory? Yes memories can be both good and bad and both play integral parts in our day to day lives often influencing us in ways we might not even imagine.
God created the world in all it's beauty, full of sights, sounds and smells all for us to enjoy as they feed our memory banks everyday. It is our responsibility however to take the time, slow down and enjoy the world in all it's glory in order for us to be able to store those wonderful experiences. In doing so then not only will we be banking wonderful memories for the days to come but we will be worshiping God as the creator and orchestrator of it all. Isaiah 6:3 says "And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” Having experienced the wonder and beauty of the world He has created for us, we are then further instructed to share that experience with others (and one called to another.)
It doesn't really matter if it is the smell of Honeysuckle, freshly mowed grass, warm baked cookies, the laughter of a grandchild or the music of a glorious and talented orchestra, they are all wonderful and precious gifts from God. Take the time to first honor Him by stopping to "smell the roses" today, then thank Him for the wonderful gift of those beautiful memories.
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