These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever. – Joshua 4:7 (NIV)
When I was growing up, I saved all kinds of mementoes—ticket stubs, programs from football games and proms, flower petals dried and crushed between the pages of a book. I never wanted to forget important events and people (such as boyfriends) from my life.
I even saved the first poems I wrote. Those half sheets of erasable bond paper are neatly tucked away in an old handkerchief box in the barn. I clipped all my published articles from the time I was in high school through the years I wrote for two local newspapers and stuffed them in boxes that held up one end of my work station—until my husband built me a permanent desk top. Then I had to decide what to do with them. The attic was getting pretty full. Why was I saving them, anyway? For some outside chance I might become famous enough to have my own museum? Into the trash they went.
I thought about all the other stuff I’ve saved through the years. Why? I never go through it. I’m too busy with the present to review the past. All those mementoes just sit around in boxes in the attic and the barn, and in the nooks and crannies of the house. So when I turned 60 in November, I decided enough was enough. It was time to start pitching.
But not everything will get tossed. I still like to keep some things around to remind me of who I am.
Like the poster on the wall of my study with a few lines of my favorite poem, “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference.” Whenever I came to a crossroad in my life, that poem acted as a guidepost. Pictures of my family, drawings by the grandkids, special plaques—all serve as reminders of who I am, what I believe, what’s important to me, and how I want to live my life.
God wants us to keep such reminders around—and in view. He knows we too often forget what’s important.
The children of Israel had lots of reminders of who and Whose they were—the holydays and annual feasts, the physical, visual symbols such as the memorial stones plucked from the bottom of the Jordan River as they crossed into the Promised Land—waters that were at the spring flood stage. When Jesus established the New Covenant, He held up bread and wine and said, “This is My body . . . This is My blood . . . Do this in remembrance of Me.”
Mementoes. Reminders. Memorials.
While we don’t live in or cling to the past, it’s important to remember where we came from and how we got to where we are today. It gives us direction for the future.
Remind me daily, Lord, of who—and Whose—I am. Amen.
Special-Tea: Joshua 4:1-9, 20-24