As you know, among other things, I am a collaborative divorce attorney. I’m dedicated to dissolving marriages without destroying the family or having the children becoming collateral damage in the breakup of the marriage. One of my challenges is to help husbands and wives not to dwell or obsess on the past wrongs their spouses have committed and even paralyzing self-blame in assuming responsibility for the cause of divorce.
I have lost count of the number of times I have told a husband or wife, “Please do not dwell on the past too much. If you live in the past, you die in the present.” In dealing with the mess in the present with the Coronavirus Pandemic, it is vital to live in the present and be intentional about keeping you and others safe. But, living solely in the present is not healthy either.
Reliving the remembrance of hurtful happenings in the past can be as crippling as polio was for me. But, the past holds in it tender morsels for our souls to savor and to be nourished by in the present. Those tender morsels are our beautiful memories.
One of the great gifts our good God has given us is the exquisite gift of memory.
As I was driving with Dorothy in Matagorda County last week, my mind turned the corner from the present to my past. I was blessed by God to remember a beautiful memory from my childhood.
My grandfather, “PawPaw”, had a fishing camp at Caney Creek. It was a rustic place. A one-room fishing shack with plywood walls. Without air-conditioning and had pop-out hinged windows without screens. The windows allowed an Air Force squadron of pesky mosquitoes to bombard us day and night. Mosquitoes not as feared as the massive water spiders lurching for me in the sprawling spider webs above the seat in the unlit smelly outhouse.
Despite all this, as a young boy, my heart was always lifted with excitement of the drive down to Caney Creek, past the rice and cotton fields. Dad would point out the mounds along the highway that used to have railroad tracks on them. Me looking for the abandoned railroad cars along the old Highway 59. Then south around the bend heading into Wharton was the memorable sight of the Tee Pee Motel. Much has changed since my younger years. But, the Tee Pee Motel is still standing there today decades later. So is that memory in me.
God’s gift to me in the present is reliving the beautiful memory of going to my grandfather’s camp on Caney Creek and anticipating all the sites leading to the Tee Pee Motel pictured here.
Today, how much do we need to hold onto and to savor those memories and moments God has given us? To be thankful for having minds which can remember them. To have not lost our minds and the memories in them in suffering through the Pandemic. Not lost the ability to make new ones. How many of you, like me, have found strength and joy in reliving memories of good experiences God has given you?
Today, our souls can chew on those tender morsels of memories. As with our God, those memories are transportable. They go wherever we are. Those memories do not spoil. They are not diminished with the passing of days. We are connected today with those we love and with God by those memories.
God has spoken to us in Scripture about memories and being thankful for them.
I remember to think about the many things you did in years gone by. Then I lift my hands in prayer, because my soul is a desert, thirsty for water from you.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
God, just as daily prayer is important for us to live and to fully love each day, please help us to remember and savor the gifts of beautiful memories Your love has made possible for us.
God, please help each of us to draw strength from the joys of the past in order to find happiness in the present.
God, may we be ever thankful for the minds and the memories we have received in Your grace.
God, may our memories never be forgotten just as You have never forgotten us and You are with us in our past, in the present and in our future walks of faith. Amen
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Jack H. Emmott is a Senior Counsel of Gray, Reed & McGraw, LLP, a 145-lawyer full-service firm in Houston, Dallas, and Waco, Texas, a Board-Certified Family Law and Master Credentialed Collaborative Law Professional Divorce Attorney, Mediator, Author, Entrepreneur and Inspirational Speaker. For more information about Jack or his latest book, Bending Angels: Living Messengers of God’s Love, go to the Bending Angel website.