I have been sick today with a nasty stomach bug. I hate being sick…but who doesn’t right? After I woke up from a dehydration induced nap I decided to keep the lights low and watch a movie…Garden State. The same thing happens to me every time I watch this movie…I become a bit Pensive.
It’s 9 o’clock and I find myself reflecting on memories from my childhood. To be honest I have blocked out a lot of my past. It’s not that I don’t have any good memories it’s just that the painful times tend to overshadow the great ones…especially when it comes to my dad. You see my dad and my brother were…are…best friends…and me…well…I never really felt like I fit in. I can remember being inside of the house and pressing my nose against the window as I watched my dad and brother work in the garage and wishing that I could somehow be a part if it all…but I never really was.
Maybe it’s because I have always been an independent person…even as a kid…maybe my dad just didn’t know how to include me…or perhaps he saw how damaged he was and he was actually protecting me…I don’t know…but there is a part of me that feels like I missed out on something great…something necessary.
I can remember this one time. It was in early summer and I was outside watching the day turn to night. My mom and brother had gone to Price Club and it was just my dad and I. We never really had a lot in common, but the one thing that was common ground for the two of us was science. I loved science when I was a kid…I particularly enjoyed astronomy and geology. That evening as the light began to fade I pulled out my circle star map waiting for the stars to begin their nightly show. I remember my dad having me stand by him on our driveway and he pointed out Orion (as he always did)…as he began to tell me about different constellations I remember thinking that my dad had to have been the smartest guy alive (which is something he would frequently tell me…and still does). After a while we both fell silent and just stared up at the heavens. There were no words that needed to be uttered…no actions that needed to be shown…it was the perfect moment…and then it happened.
As we gazed above us we saw a meteor. An honest to goodness meteor. It wasn’t some small streak of light like a shooting star…it was this oddly beautiful phenomenon that captured us. It was a big ball of yellow outlined in orange and red..and its tail looked blue and green. We couldn’t believe it. We stood there in amazement as it streaked across the sky leaving a ethereal glow behind itself and although it seemed like an eternity I am sure it was only there for mere seconds…but it is those mere seconds that I look back upon with great joy. It is an experience that only he and I have shared…it is personal, special…it is a great memory.
It’s been close to 20 years since that night in our driveway, and unfortunately with growing up comes the harsh realities of life…those realities that cause us all to be a little bit cynical, a tad bit un-trusting…those realities that cause the good memories to fade into a dull background and the bad memories to stand out in painful clarity.
We are all human and deeply flawed…longing for acceptance…yearning for someone to like us…begging to be loved…and there is a God that showers down grace wanting us to know that He is there…whispering to our souls that we are His beloved.
Memories are a funny thing aren’t they?. They can bring joy, sadness, despair….but sometimes they can bring hope. Hope for a better tomorrow…hope for new legacies…hope for change…hope for acceptance and love…hope…that on this journey we are not alone.
My dad came to church this past week…which that too will become a great memory.
I know that no matter how dark the night, the sun will still rise. No matter how painful the past…there is always hope. No matter what stage of the journey…He is still there.