Friday, March 6, 2009

Thanks for the Memories

It's a funny thing, how the memory works. We don't really get to chose what our minds will hold onto, and what they'll let flitter away without us even noticing. And how about those childhood things you remember as always happening, that in reality only occurred a few times? When it was my turn to wash the dishes as a kid, I hated the icky remnants of food floating around in the sink full of soapy water. Didn't want to touch any of that with my hands. I seem to remember that my older brother would always throw a few saltines in there, just to gross me out. But how many times did he really do that? I doubt that my hysterical reaction was enough incentive for him to do it every time I washed the dishes.

We don't get to choose what someone else will remember about us, either. At a junior high school reunion a few years ago (yes, jr, high, not high school. I went to big schools.) I was surprised by the things people would say that they remembered about me. Stuff I had completely forgotten about, like the way I wrote on the board every morning, "Smile, it's Happy Tuesday Day!", or "Wednesday is Prince spaghetti Day!" , etc. Alas, I was that girl. There are people who have snapshots in their minds of who you are, based on memories of things you don't even remember you did. Strange.

I wonder what pieces of growing up my kids will hold onto. And what memories of them my brain will keep. I have always loved reading, from the moment I figured out how to do it. One favorite series as a little girl was Carolyn Haywood's books about Betsy and her friends Billy and Ellen. But I'd forgotten all about her, couldn't even think of Haywood's name.

We went to the library last night, and Lily was looking for a real chapter book, that she could read on her own. She's read a few Juney B. Jones books, but she wanted something bigger to hold in her hands, I think. Those are little paperbacks, and she wants to feel more like her older brothers. I suddenly remembered about Betsy, and found those oldies but goodies on the shelf. (I typed "Betsy" into the search thingy, and there was my old favorite.) Lily thought it looked good; it's a hardback, with 159 pages, and she's off. She's liking Betsy, too!

I snapped this pic of her this morning, walking to the bus stop by herself this year, because Luke goes to a different building at a different time. I want to hold onto the image of them happily, confidently heading off to school knowing they're loved. She's just growing up, my Lily, and getting old enough to find her own favorite authors, have her own memories now.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Woot! Woot! Chugga' Chugga'

Another bunch of loose threads in my head that maybe tie together somehow... Wanna' go for a ride on my train of thought? Scott and I went to see Slumdog Millionaire this weekend, happened to see the movie The Kingdom also, and heard a clip of Rush Limbaugh speaking at some conservative shindig somewhere, and I'm reading about David in 2 Samuel.

Slumdog tells the story of a boy growing up in the slums of India, and The Kingdom gives a glimpse of life in Saudi Arabia. I was struck by the darkness in these cultures...or more so by how the darkness is just out there, where everyone can see it. The millions of people living in the slums of India are not hidden, there's miles and miles of "homes" with a piece of blue tarp for a roof, there's filth and greed, and cheating, it's every man for himself, etc. And the people who live in Saudi Arabia with men walking the streets armed to the teeth, boys raised to hate people who don't pray to the same god... The awfulness is out in the open. We don't see that stuff here in the US. If it's here, you have to look for it. The images in these movies shock, and stick with you.

I just heard a snippet of Limbaugh while flipping channels. He was saying that our country, as young as it is, is so much better--wealthier, freer, healthier--than all these others, and he asked, "why is that? We all have the same human make-up, we aren't more evolved than any one else." (or he said something like that) I didn't see anymore, so I don't know Rush's answer to his questions, and have no doubt that he thinks he knows the answer. I saw this clip as I was digesting the contrast of life growing up for these kids in India and my own kids here in white bread suburbia. Why is it like this?

Reading through the stories of David's life, I see how God loved him and protected him, but also taught him and let him make mistakes and experience the consequences. Ever since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, there has been darkness in the world. Sometimes it covers miles and miles, or it's right in your face, baring its ugly teeth. Other times it's covered up, or dressed up and disguised. But there's darkness everywhere. But God's love and protection are everywhere, too. We only have to accept it. Here's what David said about how the darkness impacts God...
I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I go down to the grave,[a] you are there.
If I ride the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me.
I could ask the darkness to hide me
and the light around me to become night—
but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
Darkness and light are the same to you.
Psalm 139:7-12

It doesn't impact God! He sees through it all. I don't understand why things are the way they are. I can't find the answer (maybe if I'd listened to Rush a bit longer, it'd be crystal clear, ha!) but maybe it's one of those questions that needn't be answered now. Maybe it's the love and protection we need to embrace for the here and now.