I want to start a list of all these things. The things I will remember, always.
I want to entitle it something simple like, “Things I Will Always Remember.”
I want so desperately to go back and fill the pages with lovely memories of the cherished past. And to collect them in one leather bound place with gold embossed lettering.
Things I will always remember.
And I wonder if I have the discipline to keep filling the pages as I live forward. To fill the white space up with lines , phrases and photographs of these times. The ones emblazened boldly on my heart. And in my memory. In the crevices of my story. In the cracks of my life.
I know I can start today by and in His Grace. I can begin a list of these things I will
These moments that dance and sing and take our breath away.
The ones that fill us up so we can pour back out. Those that breathe life into us so we can breathe life into others.
Those that restore and rebuild.
That define us and mark us with beauty.
The ones which we record in technicolor in our memory to pull out on the black and white days, the grey ones too. The ones where we can’t see the grace. The days when we get stuck and can’t remember the beautiful we promised we’d always remember. We swore we’d never forget.
I know that by His grace I hiked a mountain hemmed in by ones I love. With ones who love me back with a deep unfailing love.
I hiked Lookout Mountain with my 74 year old father and my 11 year old niece. And Shadow came too. The rescued dog. The furry family member who is his name to my father and mother.
I look back in my mind’s eye over the pictures and over the moments on the trail and I see so clearly now. How the walking up is life. How the hiking along side one another is life. How the journey is what we do daily. How we are given the opportunity to live well in community. In family. In relationship.
How God tethers us to others to teach and build up. To strength us. To grow us. To challenge us.
We can choose to do this daily. In love.
We can choose to get up and go out to seek the relationship challenges.
We can choose to speak a word of encouragement and be encouraged by others who are walking right beside us. We can be life givers and hope builders. We shared one bottle of water between the four of us, and it was just enough. Under the shade of the green canopy, a sip here and there was all we needed.
Just being with was gift.
Just the presence of the others blessed.
I am grateful that these two spoke encouragement to me and that they undergirded me and accompanied me in on this hike.
It wasn’t easy, the trek up. But it was important.
It was vital for seeing life this one particular way. It gave clarity. I see with a lense focused on journeying in community and in love. The lense is angled and tilted and pointed to perfectly see things this way. On this trail.
To see this life and its relationships.
How grace extended to one another on the huffing and puffing parts brings joy to the journey.
How stopping and resting and extending hope, breathing life into each other’s weary souls, its what makes the journey joyful.
I will always remember my father’s cheerful spirit on the trail. His strength and stamina and joyful spirit pushing us up and on.
I will never forget extending hands out, holding on for the hard rocky part. I will remember forever my heart beating hard at the top as we took in the views. Resting after the tiresome parts to savor. To stand in awe of the God-beauty and savor what we had come to soak in at the mountain top.
My book will add this memory to its pages. The book written for now in my mind with gold embossed lettering on the spine.
This I will always remember.
And counting gifts with Ann today too. These gifts I will always remember. I am grateful to have these things in my life, to count, to savor, and to always remember:
*a week of getting to know my niece, her heart, her humor, her sweet sweet spirit
*for all the things I learned from an eleven year old which I could never learn from a book
*for that split second moment when I embraced my husband after a long absence and how the spark and beauty of the moment lasted for hours in my heart
*for the sound of running water over rocks outside my bedroom window for days and days of endless joy
*for cool nights and cool mornings and lots and lots of green canopies
*for an endless supply of inspiration for my photography, thank you Lord for your God-beauty, your creation
*for fresh blackberries and one summer cobbler
*for an “A” in chemistry for a hardworking child
*for a very social monarch butterfly which let me take what felt like a million pictures of him (cannot wait to share the picture here)
*for a daughter who loves the mountains and how late night trips to the Blue Cone for ice cream is her idea of summer nighttime fun.