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Sorting of Good Memories

I spent this past weekend at my parents’ house in Ohio sorting through memories. Becca and I made the 8-9 hour drive up on Friday and back on Monday, with two days in between to be with family, to play and to sort through a ton of boxes. My dad is retiring later this year, and he and my mom will be moving to sunny Florida. They are downsizing as they move, and they asked my sister Jen and me to come to their house to look through everything to see what we wanted to keep and what could be discarded. My sister, her boyfriend, my dad, my mom, Becca and I all crammed into the basement for hours looking through boxes and tubs to decide what to get rid of and what to keep.

We looked through boxes of toys that Jen and I played with when we were young, many of which have come back into vogue decades later: Transformers, GI Joe, He-Man, My Little Pony, Barbie, matchbox cars, stuffed animals and more. I remembered fondly acting out the stories I watched on the television cartoons with my figures, having battles with my friends and even occasionally have a tea party with Jen where both Barbie and He-Man were welcome.

We combed through all my soccer memorabilia: jerseys, t-shirts, trophies, photographs, tournament patches and even my letter jacket. I recalled the trips we made together as a family to various tournaments. We reminisced about adventures along with way. I was reminded of friends that I haven’t spoken to in years, of some crazy bus rides, of fun times at practice and camps and conditioning, of the thrill of victory and of the agony of defeat.

We searched through several boxes of academic materials: from report cards and papers written to art projects and awards earned. I threw away most of it, except for my yearbooks, a few journals and some certificates and newspaper clippings. In my memories, I journeyed from kindergarten all the way through elementary, middle and high school even into college. I remembered friends who came and went, teachers who inspired me, girls I liked (and almost never worked up the courage to ask on a date), fields trips and competitions, lessons learned and much more.

We also sorted through Christmas decorations, old clothes, knickknacks, church stuff, furniture, books and more, each bringing back its own set of memories. It was an emotional weekend – partly because I threw away a lot of stuff, but mostly because of all the memories, good and bad. But it was a great weekend: a time to be reminded of where I have been and lots of the things that have shaped and formed who I am today.

In many ways, this is what it is like for us to gather as the family of God for worship. We remember the stories – both biblical and personal – of where we have been and how God has been active in history and in our lives. We allow the stories, along with God’s presence, the liturgy and God’s people, to shape and form us. We invite others into the story as we baptize babies and welcome new members. And we remember and celebrate God’s goodness as we sing and as we share in Holy Communion. So, despite the craziness that the summer schedule can bring, I hope to see you in worship often this season as we sort through memories together and remind each other of God’s love.