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Grateful, Yet Thoughtful

Memories - Good or bad... Get rid of them!

Thanksgiving “Day” is over, even though retailers opened their doors early to lure shoppers into their lair. Black Friday has passed, though many retailers are extending their specials through the weekend. Cyber Monday arrives shortly. Lost in the shuffle will be Thanksgiving Sunday.

Thanksgiving to Christmas – this time has become a huge focus on spending money. A question arose yesterday on one of the news broadcasts, “1 of 3 Americans could not name a single one of these…” and the answer had something to do with the holidays. Answers abounded for things like the 1) names of the reindeer, 2) names of the elves, 3) Presidents with holidays, etc…. The answer: “A Christmas Gift from last year.” How sad that we focus so heavily during these times on making the most of spending money and many will not even be able to name a single gift from last year.

This put me into the thought of remembering things of the past – everything between fond and hurtful events that have happened to us.

As a child I am sure there were things that were “negatives” and hugely so at the time – yet those events do not follow me into the present. Sure, there were times we got into trouble, and even times that the punishment was huge, but those events are sort of meaningless in my present mind.

For example, I remember one time we were in trouble and my brothers and I stuffed pecans in our back pockets thinking that it would keep the belt from hurting too much. After much thought we took them out realizing that it might make the spanking hurt even worse. What did we do to make us fearful of that punishment? I DO NOT REMEMBER! To me, that’s the blessing of my past. Most of those memories are history and never to be dredged up again.

Why then does it hurt so much when others remembers the wrongs that I have done to them? It is such a crushing weight of guilt to realize how you have disappointed someone close to you. Perhaps even when you did not intend it to be hurtful. I’m remembering a promise I made to do something that was never followed up and I do feel guilty about it today.

Perhaps there are things about others that I could harp upon, if I had a mind or heart to do so. Yet, I remember nothing that creates this kind of memory in my present day.

Paul states, “Forgetting those things which are behind…” (Phil 3:13), and this gives me a precedent on how to live peaceably with all men (Rom 12:8).  Paul is not necessarily speaking about bad memories, as much as he is alluding to the Grecian races where a runner does not stop to analyze the route that has been taken, and the ground that has been covered. Rather, he keeps his eyes on the forward prize of the finished line.

It’s just that we let the negative past rise up out of our memory banks and we dwell on them so much that it affects where we are going and how we get there! I suspect the ultimate fear is that the past will cause a split between the parties in the present and into the future. Thus, we often mask the things of the past that are hurtful. I also suspect, that the additional fear is that our offspring will end up just like us. Hurting the next generation as much as the hurt they carry with them from the prior generation.

Perhaps, it is even that the next generation picks up a lot of the same feelings and thoughts as the present generation – and all of our habits, words, and even deeds, are replicated throughout subsequent generations.

There is a popular song by Harry Chapin… Do you remember it?

Cat’s In The Cradle

My child arrived just the other day, He came to the world in the usual way, But there were planes to catch and bills to pay, He learned to walk while I was away, And he was talkin’ ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew, He’d say “I’m gonna be like you dad, You know I’m gonna be like you”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon, Little boy blue and the man on the moon, When you comin’ home dad? I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then son, You know we’ll have a good time then.

My son turned ten just the other day, He said, “Thanks for the ball, Dad, come on let’s play, Can you teach me to throw”, I said “Not today, I got a lot to do”, he said, “That’s ok” And he walked away but his smile never dimmed, And said, “I’m gonna be like him, yeah, You know I’m gonna be like him”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon, Little boy blue and the man on the moon, When you comin’ home son? I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then son, You know we’ll have a good time then

Well, he came home from college just the other day, So much like a man I just had to say, “Son, I’m proud of you, can you sit for a while?” He shook his head and said with a smile, “What I’d really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys, See you later, can I have them please?”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon, Little boy blue and the man on the moon, When you comin’ home son? I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then son, You know we’ll have a good time then

I’ve long since retired, my son’s moved away, I called him up just the other day, I said, “I’d like to see you if you don’t mind” He said, “I’d love to, Dad, if I can find the time, You see my new job’s a hassle and kids have the flu, But it’s sure nice talking to you, Dad, It’s been sure nice talking to you”

And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me, He’d grown up just like me, My boy was just like me

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon, Little boy blue and the man on the moon, When you comin’ home son?, I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then son, You know we’ll have a good time then

I would hope that those near and dear to me will understand when I say… I’m sorry of I’ve ever hurt you or that you have a memory of something about me that is not very positive.