Remembering

I am currently digging deep into the concept of spiritual identity; it’s resonant and powerful. I’m learning things that are connecting dots in the grand arc of how our emotional, spiritual, and physical selves are interconnected. It’s good stuff.

It’s true stuff; I know this, because as I read and learn these concepts in a rather abstract way, they are coming to life around me in very real ways. I keep thinking of this statement: Eyes to see, ears to hear. When you learn something intellectually, it’s never quite complete until you really get it, right? But knowledge brings awareness, and you start looking and noticing.

Eyes to see, ears to hear.

The concept of remembrance as integral to faith and identity has re-emerged for me in recent weeks. A friend reminded me yesterday that this is nothing new; I learned this two decades ago in an Experiencing God study, and it’s obvious to anyone: What we remember matters. Experiencing God calls them ‘spiritual markers’; an Old Testament story gives us the idea of a raised ‘Ebenezer’ to mark a moment and a place. Trevor Hudson says, “Christian faith is grounded in remembrance” – and not just in the information that we are to remember, but in our experiences.

“All of us carry memories within our hearts, and when they are recalled we enter into a mysterious journey.”

In my reading and underlining and study, I’m taking all this in and agreeing with it. I’m looking for ways to understand all that has happened in my life and how it comes together to form my identity. I appreciate this knowledge.

But this morning, knowledge became reality. In a season in which there are some difficult struggles and challenges, a day when I awoke with a heart burdened by the pain of people I love and care for, remembrance brought cleansing tears – sobs, even – and an outpouring of praise.

Our lives are sacred journeys, often only understood through the lenses of remembrance. Yesterday, I remembered that it was my daughter and son-in-law’s third anniversary; one to be celebrated, but with a tinge of sadness, as they are separated for several weeks as he serves out a commitment to the armed forces. In the current circumstances, the day was marked by the date on the calendar and a verbal acknowledgement.

But there is much more to remembering, and I encountered it fully this morning as I watched this video – and thank God for it.

This is my family; this is my home, transformed. These are our friends. This is the grace of marriage and divorce and remarriage and the love that is bigger than the failures. This is the joy before, during, and after a covenant ceremony. This is sisters, and brothers, and friends.

This is the joy of dancing in the dark and the shimmering light of glory.

These images, woven together in a sacred offering of the beauty and joy that transcends everything, remind us of what is good and possible and right, even in the midst of a reality that might not be quite so. To remember is to be alive, and to have strength for the journey that is still unfolding before us.

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