Saturday, May 26, 2007

Weekly Word for Memorial Day 2007

Weekly Word - May 26, 2007

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven - - -
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance . . .
(Ecclesiastes 3: 1 & 4)

“Life is memories and moments, it is snapshots of time. It is those moments that touch us, deep down into our souls.” These are some of the words that I used in a poem that I wrote, for a fundraising project. My girlfriend had called me, to tell me all about this year’s fundraiser. She then told me that she wanted to do something different, something special for this year’s project. Every year, for the past 4 years, our fan club has raised money, in honor of our favorite country singer. This year, we were raising money to help children who couldn’t hear. As Tammy told me all about the project, she then told me her new idea. “I want everyone to make a scrapbook page” she told me. “The page should tell a little bit about the person, and the things they love - family and friends, and what they are passionate about” she continued. She was then going to make a book, to remember all those who had donated. As soon as Tammy finished talking, I told her that I didn‘t think I could do it. “I’ll write a check for the donation” I told her. “But don’t ask me to make a scrapbook page!” Tammy just laughed at me. “Oh yes you will!” she said. And I knew she meant it!

Tammy told everyone in the fan club her idea. She then told them that we had 4 months to work on the project. That seemed like plenty of time to do “one” page. But I kept putting it off and putting it off. I knew that I wasn’t very good at art projects, and I tended to take lots of pictures - and never put them in photo albums. So as I thought about the project, I didn’t even know where to start . . .

And there is a time for every event under heaven - - -

I was surrounded by pictures. Some were of my children and grandchildren. Others were of friends that I have made through the years. There were pictures of birthdays and holidays, events and even concerts. I had pictures all around me, and the memories just seemed to come flooding back. Some of the memories held smiles and laughter. But some - - - could still bring tears and regrets. As I looked at each picture, I couldn’t help but think back to years gone by - - - and times that have somehow slipped away . . .

A time to embrace, and a time to shun embracing.
A time to search, and a time to give up as lost . . .

(Ecclesiastes 3: 5 & 6)

I have told a lot of stories about my friendship with Norma. She was my best friend, and to this day I still miss her. As I thought about the pictures I wanted to put on my page, I found some pictures of Norma. There she was, smiling - her birthday cake sitting in front of her. I had another picture of her, standing next to a robot - laughing at the fact that she was there. As I looked at the pictures, another memory seemed to push it’s way into my consciousness. With it, came the emotions of guilt and regret. As I looked at the picture of Norma, I couldn’t help but remember back to the very first time that she battled cancer. She had just found out about the cancer, and the doctors were making their plans. It was decided that Norma would need surgery, and the best place seemed to be Boston. In the days that led up to her having the surgery, I tried to help Norma get ready. She hadn’t been feeling very good, and so I helped with laundry and cleaning, and spent time helping her pack. I was scared and nervous for her, hoping and praying that she would get better. She was my best friend, and I didn’t want her to die.

A few days before her surgery, Norma gave me the address for the hospital, as well as a list of her friends and family. She had asked me to call them, as soon as she got out of surgery. As she wrote everything down for me, she stopped and looked up at me - with a question in her eyes. “Will you be able to come visit me?” she asked. At that moment, I could see the fear in her eyes. We had been so busy getting ready for the surgery, and preparing for the time while she was gone - that we hadn’t really stopped to think about what she was really facing. In that moment, I could feel my heart drop into the pit of my stomach. It was hard to talk, and I struggled with the words. Finally, I told her I would try. But I knew that I wouldn’t be able to drive all that way alone. I was too afraid. As I looked at my friend, I wished that I could be the person she needed me to be. At that moment, I wished that I was someone different - someone who would not let her down . . .

Behold, I tell you a mystery; . . . In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, . . .
We shall be changed.
(1 Corinthians 15: 51 & 52)

As I looked at the picture, I could feel the emotions wash over me. The guilt and regrets were still there. I wasn’t able to visit Norma, that very first time she battled cancer. But she never held it against me, and our friendship continued to grow. When the cancer came back, I was so surprised that she chose me - to walk with her - until the day she left this earth. That time, changed my life. And, I know I will see her again - - - someday . . .

And there is a time for every event under heaven -
A time to give birth, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted.
(Ecclesiastes 3: 1 & 2)

Life is memories and moments, it is snapshots of time. As I continued to work on the project, the pictures in front of me brought back so many memories. I have always
loved to take pictures, and the many totes in our basement are the evidence of that fact. I guess I take after my parents in that aspect. My father was always taking pictures, and my mother was always behind him - making us take “just one more . . .” So it was very strange when my mother started to send us old pictures from when we were younger, back to us kids. When I first started to get them in the mail, I called up my brothers. We all knew that my mother had just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Why would she want to get rid of the pictures, the “memories” of our lives? We didn’t have an answer, and we didn’t know what to do - to help my mother . . .
He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart.
. . . There is nothing better - than to rejoice and to do good - it is the gift of God.
. . . Everything God does - will remain forever . . .

(Ecclesiastes 3: 11 - 14)

“Life is memories and moments, it is snapshots of time. It is those moments that touch us, deep down into our souls.” My mother is battling a disease that is quietly robbing her of her memories. Her body is healthy, but the “pictures and moments” of her life - are slowly slipping away.

As I worked on my project - surrounded by the pictures and memories - I finally realized what my mother was trying to do. The pictures that she had picked out, were special moments that had touched my mother’s heart. She knows that soon, those memories will be lost to her - forever. But in sending us the pictures, she is hoping that we will keep them alive - long after she is gone . . .

. . . Everything God does - will remain forever . . .

As I looked at the scrapbook page that I finally made, I saw so many “memories and moments” that have touched my life. I am so thankful for the family that I have, and the friends I have made in my life. I thank God for Norma, and the friendship we had - that changed my life. As I looked at that page, I was so glad that my friend Tammy had made me do the project. That page, was a small snippet of the book - that is my life . . .

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good - to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
(Romans 8:28)
This coming week-end is Memorial Day. It is a time of “remembering” those who have made a difference in our world. It is a time to remember those who have given their lives - for all of us. It is a time to remember those moments - those gifts of Life - that have changed our lives forever.

Will you take this moment in time, and truly look at your own life? When you take the time to look - do you see the handprints of God? He is right there - helping you to make “memories and moments” that will last - - - forever . . .
“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity - to give you a future and a hope.”
(Jeremiah 29:11)

God bless you and keep you, as we celebrate this special time of remembering - those who have changed our lives - and our world - forever!

In His Love,
Debbie & Ted Ayers