But it doesn’t stop there. June of 1966. Our family couldn’t afford a long vacation that summer, so my father planned a weekend get-away to Chicago. We would spend two nights in a motel. He would take us to places that he remembered when he was growing up — his home, his school, the first place he ever worked. He knew an amusement park we could visit. Most importantly, we had tickets to an afternoon Chicago White Sox game.
The Saturday night stay at the motel is forever carved into my memory. The L-shaped motel that we stayed in soon was only an I-shape. My sister, mother and I sat crouched in the bathroom, clinging to the toilet. My dad was in the bathtub — a safety maneuver that to this day I fail to understand. There was no EF scale to measure the velocity of the wind. But the 10-year-old’s fear factor that night was 10 out of 10.
As we approach Memorial Day weekend, these events trigger our memories. Images and etchings tell the historical stories of our lives, but emotions and passions splash colors on the much bigger canvas of life. When we pause to look at life’s picture in its simplest form, certain memories control the whole scene.
Why do we remember the things that we remember? Psychologists and educators tell us that we remember things that we are actively involved in learning, rather than just reading. We remember things for which we carry intense passion and emotion. We will hold on to moments that we understand are bigger than ourselves.
Take a few moments this weekend to simply remember. Reflect on the people who have made a difference in your direction and outcome. Ponder the circumstances that provided “fork in the road” moments. Look beyond yourself and honor those who have given their all so that you could enjoy freedom today. Recall life’s lessons that are bigger than just you. Lean in closely, look with spiritual magnifying glasses to see the fingerprints of God on the story of your life.
— Tom May is the Minister of Discipleship at Eastside Christian Church in Jeffersonville. He is an adjunct instructor in the Communications Department at Indiana University Southeast.