Today I landed in Florida for a week long intensive with people living and breathing youth and family ministry. The training is in Vero Beach down a ways on the eastern coast. I was picked up at the airport by Matt who is married to one of my wife’s cousins. We had a fun drive getting caught up on our lives and talking about family and ministry. About a half hour into our trip we realized we had missed the exit for the quickest route. But it was not a problem because we realized we could just keep going and take the “scenic route” down the coast.
Suddenly we found ourselves passing through Cocoa Beach and the memories began to flow for me. You see, several years ago we loaded up the family van along with some good friends and decided to make the long haul to Disneyworld. It was 26 hours straight through. We decided to spend a couple days in Cocoa beach before we went back up to Disney. As we passed through Cocoa I saw the hotel where we stayed. I began to remember that amazing, fun trip that also came with some unexpected twists. The boys spent all day in the ocean and were so badly sunburned we had to delay our trip to Disney for a day. They were absolutely miserable. We saw a huge snake on the beach and made sure the moms didn’t see it. The transmission went out in our friend’s van. All things we didn’t expect.
But all along the parents just kept laughing and saying, “we’re making memories.” I guess it was our way of telling ourselves this trip wasn’t a disaster. And the memories came to me vividly today. I started thinking about how important it has been to do things with our kids that are memorable. What is it about memories that stirs something up inside of us that gives us a sense of gratefulness and contentment? Remembering how giddy our Minnesota born kids were to swim all day in the ocean. Remembering the laughter that we shared and the relaxation of being away from the stresses of life. I thought about how we watched our kids playing so joyfully and I knew we were all thinking how much we loved them.
What is it about memories?
These moments are significant in our lives because they remind us of the importance of simply being together as friends and family. They remind us that life is meant to be lived joyfully. Even in the midst of the things that go wrong, we look back on how we triumphed and had a great story to tell. And tell it we do. So many times we’ve told the stories of that trip and many others so that we can once again feel the comfort of togetherness.
As we spend time with our children, we are making memories that last a lifetime. As we take our youth on those crazy, exhausting service trips or camps we are creating memories that can be recalled to be reminded of the presence of God.
What memories do you have that illicit something very sacred to you?
May we be memory makers in this life because they remind us of the significance of those we love.