News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Mike Lunsford

May 3, 2009

The Off Season: Celebrating the power of memory

We sat in the pews of our small country church sanctuary a few Sundays ago, and before long our class was deep into a discussion about memories and how the prophet Isaiah reminded us that we were to “forget the former things,” that we are “not to dwell on the past.”

Our problem wasn’t that we wanted to argue about the validity of Scripture; we just didn’t have a whole lot of agreement as to what Isaiah actually meant when he relayed his boss’s message to us. After all, a few chapters later, the Lord tells his people to “Remember this,” and to “fix it in mind.”

Our Sunday school teacher, Tim, who happens to be my wife’s cousin (just about everyone at the church is related in some way or another) used my storytelling as part of his object lesson for the morning. Without suggesting that I simply make things up as I write, he said that there’s no way that I can probably remember absolutely every detail I use.

I didn’t argue, but I believe that the vast majority of my trips to the past are pretty accurate. I can still place kids in the rows where they sat in Mrs. Milner’s fourth-grade classroom, and I can still recall the patch of woods that stood behind our home place like the back of my hand. I can remember the first pair of basketball shoes I ever owned, too…

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with allowing our minds to wander back in time every so often. I sure hope there isn’t, since I seem to be spending more and more of my free time in the cobwebbed rooms of my memory these days, for it’s not only Jimmy Stewart’s George Bailey who’s had a wonderful life.

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