Minister's Corner: Remembering is good

Justin Dunn
UBC Shawnee

In the last chapter of the wise ramblings of Ecclesiastes we find this familiar verse that introduces the final punch of the book. “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them”— (Ecclesiastes 12:1) With all of his so called living the narrator of Ecclesiastes has found life to be empty. Yet upon reflection he determines that his conclusion that life is about loving God and living life His way would be best put into practice early on. He does not deny the error of his “younger days” nor bemoan the lessons learned but he does admit that to learn those lessons before “the silver chord is severed (12:6a)” would be much better.

On Memorial weekend it is good for us to know this: remembering is good. I have seen the pain of those both directly and indirectly effected by memory loss. Dementia and Alzheimer’s bring about a difficult pain. The individuals and families who struggle, along with the doctors and nurses that help support both should be encouraged and admired. But even when the physical memory deteriorates the knowledge of a creator, of a hope can remain. I think of a sweet woman, now deceased, who was caught in the throes of dementia. She did not know many people and was not aware of much. Yet, she remembered to smile, she remembered joy. I know this disease can rob some of their personalities, but even then there can be glimmers of the joy my friend knew. If you are living with a family member or friend who is suffering from these terrible diseases help them remember joy, even if they forget the next day. Give joy to them and their nurses and other caretakers who have a very difficult job.

For those of us who are aware and can remember, choose to remember God and His blessings on your yesterdays, todays, and tomorrows. I have a family member who is a great storyteller and I look forward to his telling and retelling of funny experiences and lessons learned. But I am also impressed when he gives time and encouragement to my young children to tell their stories, their remembrances. I sat transfixed and amazed around the kitchen table recently as young and old traded memories back and forth. The old stories help the young, and the young stories gladden the old. This weekend tell someone a memory and then listen to them tell you one. This exchange breathes life, can honor God, and can bring joy.