Christy graciously invited me to join her family as they decorated their tree. It was a lot of fun - kids decorating, talking, Christmas music in the background...all the magic it used to be. As I hung the ornaments, I'd tell the kids the stories about them. There are the ones that Kevin's great-grandmother made for him, the one that my grandfather put on his tree, and even the one I made in 2nd grade. It was a plain syrofoam ball with my name in cursive glitter and a glitter tree on the other side and 1964 on the bottom. Since Christy's daughter is 'Julia Ruth', I gave the ornament to her, making her promise to take care of it. She promised me very solemnly and I know it will be taken out and I will be remembered whenever she hangs it on her Christmas tree.
Then I got to thinking about our other old ornaments. The fact that Kevin's great-grandmother made some ornaments is neat, but the truth is that Kevin only has a few memories of her. There is no emotional attachment other than the fact that it's family. I realize that there are many, many things in my home that I'm attached to because of the relationship to the story involving the thing. I have Precious Moments figurines that each have a special meaning to me because of who gave them to me or the event they commemorated.
As we get older, we begin to pass some of those cherished keepsakes on to someone who may feel the same as we do about our thing. it's a way to make a connection from out past to the future, a way to stay connected in time. One day, maybe only a few generations away, our story won't matter to the owner of the thing and the thing won't matter and we won't be remembered.
It's easy to feel like it doesn't matter what we do since it won't even be remembered in a few more generations. Feelings aren't truth. The truth is that what we do matters. And it matters to more than a few generations. The truth is that we serve a God who is so big that He takes our obedience and turns it into a big miracle to bring glory to Himself.
It matters that Kevin and I have stayed together and have loved each other all these years. It matters how we raised our children. It matters that family is important. It matters that we've offered forgiveness, grace and mercy when our kids least deserved it. It matters that we've done the best we can to model Christ to others.
It matters that we introduced our kids to Christ and all that He's offers and all that He is. It matters that we had a home environment that gave them the freedom to find their own relationship with Christ.
My stories and the memory of me will only last a few generations. My things, as precious as they may be to me now, will only last a few more than that. But that's really okay. The only things that will go with us into eternity are people, love and relationships. So trying to model Christ really does matter.
The truth is that I will have forever to get to know the generations who will come after me. My prayer is that God will take my acts of obedience and make them into big miracles that glorify Him. That will be what lasts forever and that is what gives me hope and takes away that fear of not being remembered.