Have you ever asked that question? Have you ever been in a valley and wondered what in the world you’ve accomplished in life – or if the things you’ve done have any lasting value?
As I was praying and going to sleep the other night, I asked the LORD about the value of time and accomplishments to this point in my life. I wondered: have I done anything — really?
Well, interestingly enough — and I don’t consider it a fluke by any means — my busy-as-a-bee, Hannah, was ordering up our storage closet in the attic and she came across many ‘treasures’ and, yes, other things, too. Among the ‘treasures’ she set out in the hallway for me to look through were several boxes of photographs, letters, cards, artwork, journals and an old Bible. Contained in the boxes were answers to my ponderings.
Some of those boxes hadn’t been opened in ten years. As Naomi tried on my wedding dress and as beautiful Kathryn tried on my veil, I marveled that I began making that dress 31 years ago and, thus, sort of began my journey to home & family at that time, too. I marveled that the little dress holds such fascination each time a little girl of mine sees it and then I know the next question will be if it can be tried on and have a picture taken. My bridal bouquet – though not properly dried, still looks sweet to me.
In those boxes were piles of childrens’ papers, photos of hundreds of days gone by, awards, a plaster of paris handprint mold of a hand of a three year old — that two year old is now twenty-nine and has children of his own. In those boxes were letters and cards commemorating birthdays, mother’s days, births of children, gifts given and many more “accomplishments.” There were childrens’ clothes and little gifts I couldn’t part with.
In the photos I saw my younger self… at the beach with different children… at home celebrating different milestones, birthdays, newborn’s and children at play. There were photos of funny faces and skinned noses and knees… photos of parents the age I am now. I looked carefully at the background of some of the photos: the homes we’ve lived in and the decorations – both familiar and forgotten. I smiled at the messes in some and marveled at the order in many. I miss some of the furnishings, blankets and flowers I see in the photos. I realized I had made up the charts and schedules I saw on walls in the photos, and I sewed most of the dresses on the little girls and many of the curtains, valances, aprons, tablecloths and placemats… I nursed and diapered and bathed the babies, watered the plants, arranged and rearranged the furniture, decorated the cakes and pushed the swings I saw in the photos.
I read journal accounts and prayers for the children I saw in the photographs and could almost hear their little voices as I sat in the hallway yesterday looking at all the memories I held in my lap. Hundreds of photos sparked many more memories. They’ve stayed with me through the night and into this day…
I wondered how all that could have been accomplished in such a short time — for it really doesn’t seem possible that this much time has passed already. But it has passed and it has passed so quickly. In just a very short time, life’s been going by.
I came across a little bag in a plastic bag. On the bag was written: “John & Laurie’s wedding (and in all caps) SAVE (underlined).” Curious, I opened the little bag and found a couple of imprinted napkins: John and Laurie – June 30, 1990; also in the bag was a (used) plate and fork from the wedding cake; a receipt from the Tux Shop; the little box the tuxedo shirt cuff-links came in, and there were several little gold rings that were tied in the teal ribbon around the tulle sachets of birdseed — I know this bcz one of the circles of tulle was still completely intact with the birdseed and little gold rings and another wasn’t. That boy was so sentimental – he saved everything. And yesterday, I was so glad I had saved some of his “everything” when he moved away from home when he got married ten years ago.
Well, that precious couple… the John and Laurie whose wedding memories I held in my hands yesterday… have remained such a blessing to me, in June I had the unbelievable privilege of assisting John helping Laurie in the birth of their 6th child (the midwife didn’t arrive until quite awhile after the birth). That’s a story for another day — I realize I haven’t written about that marvelous event (and so many more things).
Anyway, to close for today and leave some for tomorrow… I guess the LORD answeredmy question — and it sure was in a gentle way.