To Be a Life-Giving MemoryBlog / Produced by The High Calling
A few years ago, I faced cancer surgery and my level of anxiety was high. Two of my best friends flew across the country to be with me in the surgical waiting room. They returned home the day after my surgery, but the memory of their presence made all the difference as I faced recovery.
The legacy of our lives can influence others long after we are no longer present. Mentors who guided me years ago continue to be a source of wisdom and strength. When I am faced with a challenge, I remember the wisdom they shared with me when I first began my work.
Remembrance is what makes alive all our connections with those whom we love, this side of the grave and the next. We draw upon a storehouse of memories, not only as comfort but also as a source of strength and hope. Scan your memories for the ways a special person has been a gift in your life. How did this person point you toward the truth about life and God?
A life that creates memories of wisdom and love for others is a life of significance. Consider Moses. He guided the Israelites through the wilderness but did not make it to the Promised Land. The memory of his words and faithfulness guided Israel to actualize God's promise.
Consider Jesus. The disciples probably could not believe Jesus when he said, "It is better that I leave you . . ." (John 16:7). Jesus was confident, though. As the disciples reflected on his teachings and deeds, he knew they would "grow to the full stature of Christ" (Eph. 4:13). In absence, in memory, they would see Jesus in a new way and experience the full meaning of his life.
When children leave home for college or a new job, they begin to see their parents in new ways. When friends are separated, they recall the meaning of that friendship. From a distance, in memory, we often express ourselves in letters in a much more intimate way than when present. God uses memory to create spiritual union.
To visit a friend or family member when in a crisis is undoubtedly important. But memory gives us the freedom to leave, as difficult as that may be. The memory of our visit continues to strengthen and creates a space for God's spirit to become present in a new way. Such a concept prevents us from thinking we are useful only if we are constantly present.
The legacy of our lives is the life-giving memory we leave to others. Whether you are a mentor, a parent, a spouse, or a friend—your words and deeds have the power to sustain others with hope and wisdom through the Spirit of Christ Jesus.
- Who continues to be a significant memory for you? Why?
- What legacy are you leaving for those whom you know?
- Reflect on both your positive and negative memories. How does God heal memories such as guilt or remorse?