A home has memory. Growing up, there are several houses we lived in but one stands out as our family home. Family moments happened in that space. The Christmas tree sat in a particular spot. There was a threshold doorway that recorded our height as we grew with etched pencil marks. As I write about the home on 28 Mimosa Road, my mind recalls specific sights, smells and sounds.
Not all the memories are warm. I had a mishap or two growing up, a motorcycle accident where I got 38 stitches in my leg, a broken bone from falling out of a tree. This was the house where my Father died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack when I was ten years old. I can feel the trauma of those days even now.
This home protected us from fierce thunder and windstorms. It kept us dry from the rain and warm in the winter. I remember.
You see, when we consider the journey home we must remember. Memories are part of our DNA and a home is where many of our most cherished and significant memories are made.
Memories not only help us recall the past. They help us move forward as well. We run through this life. We seem to be driven, forced into a sprint as we rush to the next thing on our list. Remembering is a way to push the pause button and take a breath. Remembering is not just about facts and data; this happened on this date and these people were there. Remembering can be more. If we will get still we can have an active, participating memory where we engage with the moment. We can touch a time long passed and in doing so gain perspective. Remembering reminds us of who we are as well as where we’ve been. We can receive healing, even in the memories that cause pain when we are willing to engage in this way.
There is a poignant message about memory in a letter Abraham Lincoln wrote to a mother who lost her sons in the Civil War (It was quoted in the movie Saving Private Ryan).
Executive Mansion / Washington, Nov. 21, 1864
To Mrs. Bixby, Boston, Mass.
I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.
Yours very sincerely and respectfully,
Home is made of memories. May we endeavor to embrace the memories that are behind and look forward. Each day gives us a chance to make more memories in a life well lived.
“For me, Canterbury has been much more than a place to work. I came to Canterbury in November of 2015 partially because I had no other options as far as places to work. It had been a long job search and the Lord provided this job so naturally I took it. I did not know that I was accepting more than a job. Canterbury became a second family to me. I have found a lot of laughter and a lot of healing in my tenure at Canterbury.
The past several months have been some of the hardest I have ever faced. One of the most difficult was the loss of a dear friend to suicide. I’ve seen tragedy, said goodbye to dreams that I’ve had for years, and dealt with personal struggles. In the past, work has been something I just want to get over with so I can go home. In the last few months it has been my refuge in the storms of life. It is refreshing for me to go to work and be with these people. The presence of God is in the way they love. I have been many places in my life and many churches, but love like this is harder to find than you would think. It is truly something beautiful and supernatural. Canterbury is truly a place of refuge and peace. It is one of the places I go every day to meet with God. Whether it’s through the beautiful landscape or through the people, I always come away seeing more of His face.”
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