No matter how old or young you are, you have at least one poignant memory full of emotion, sometimes very strong emotion.
Our minds bring these memories to us at seemingly random moments – on a bus, eating dinner, watching a parade.
These memories can bring up feelings of something lost, or something missed, or something we wish we could do over. Growing older doesn’t always minimize the emotion.
What do we do with these memories, especially as Christian writers?
First and foremost, it helps to know that, according to the Bible, “…all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) This not only means all events work together, God even uses our processing (memory) of those events. It’s an incredible tapestry woven from our past, present and future experiences, as well as our interpretation of those experiences. Only an infinite God could pull that off.
A shorter way of saying this is that nothing is wasted with the Lord. He injects value into everything.
Still, what about those poignant, wistful memories we all experience – the sense that, “If I had a do-over, I would do it differently… I would do it right.” Which is one of the reasons Uncle Rico bought a time machine in the movie, Napoleon Dynamite.
Here are some thoughts on that (thoughts on poignant memories, not Napoleon Dynamite):
- You can’t go back. There is no time machine.
- You can learn from what you’ve experienced. If you’re ever in a similar situation, you have a leg up on what to do or say.
- You can use those memories to deepen your trust of God and to be thankful for all the memories you have. (See the Romans 8:28 verse above.)
- Sometimes you do get to have a bit of a do-over. Jump on that if or when the opportunity arises. The first time I proposed to my wife was in a parking lot on a hill overlooking a gas station. (And that’s not the worst of it. Contact me for more details.) Many years later, a specific situation came up which felt like a do-over opportunity, so I proposed again. Fortunately, she said yes both times, which has worked out well for our children and grandchildren.
- These poignant memories have value to you as a writer. And not only for providing narratives for books, articles, scripts, etc. The emotions associated with these memories feed energy and vibrancy into your art. They help your art to impact people on a multitude of levels, some they won’t even be aware of.
And beyond all that, beyond your most poignant memories, is what you’re really longing for, what you’re really made for. You get tastes of it this side of heaven, but that’s only a down-payment — the Lord’s way of whispering to you, “I got this.”
You’re fearing you’ve lost something, but you haven’t. That it’s gone, but it isn’t. What you really want is on the timeline. You just need to look in the other direction – toward the future. It might appear dim now, but eventually it will be face to face. Eventually you’ll know fully, even as you’ve been fully known by the Lord. (1 Corinthians 13:12)