This week, we delve more deeply into the photo album of our lives. In examining memories, there are some things easier – and more pleasant – than others, some times and places I’d rather be.
When I sit down to write down about one time of my life, one section of my childhood, or one specific memory, I find others that flit around on the edge of my awareness. There are images that flood my mind, as well as emotions in a rainbow of colors.
Thinking about the photo album of my life, I see myself tending to spend time with certain memories. I don’t spend too much time on the painful things, not at first. I haven’t looked deeper at how my life has been linked, at the ways some of my experiences growing up colored how I acted, mistakes I made, things I avoid now.
I don’t want to blame my past for my present. I don’t want to point fingers at X or Q and say that THEY were the reason I did this or that. I don’t want to dig into the possibilities of the long-term influence of this or that childhood experience.
It seems silly to me. Free will was God’s gift to humankind and I made choices. yes, those choices have a background, but these exercises are not about blame. They’re not about a finger pointed outward, but rather about discovering who I am, seeking from that the person God intends.
God did not make the mask I wear, that convenient hiding place I use when I’m uncomfortable being just ME, the Sarah God made in the beginning. So much of who I think I am is colored by my past, and that’s where the photo album comes in handy. I can flip through it and see the times I laughed and seethed and shuddered, and I can also, by looking closer, see the girl underneath, the person God created.
There’s a Sarah who was known in her mother’s womb. There’s a Sarah who can be all that God desires.
But to find her, I have to move aside all the junk that’s collected over the years. I have to understand the many masks that need to be removed, the many layers I have accumulated.
Going through the memories, I look for God. Sometimes it’s not so easy to find him. Is that because I don’t know where to look?
Other times, as I look back over the patchwork of my life, I can see God as the backing holding it all together. I can see the good he brought from the pain, the grace that flowed from the tragedy, the carrying he did as I fell…and fell…and fell.
Even as I struggle, wondering how God could love me during one particular time of my life, I think of him as Father, as Daddy. Daddy’s arms are always open, always waiting for me to jump in them. I just have to make the effort.
He can pick me up, carry me through the pain of the memories. I just have to ask.
Going through all the memories makes me look at who I am today and consider: Do I accept who I am? Do I live the present moment as a prayer to God, of thanksgiving?
This process is also reminding me that I’m still being formed by my Maker…God isn’t finished with me – and neither am I!