Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Memories

An icon in this area passed away yesterday, at an age too young for most. For those of you not from Minnesota, perhaps Kirby Puckett's passing is a sad moment, but for many of us in this state, the death of the Twins' best ever center fielder is a significant event.

I loved watching Kirby play ball. He approached the game with a joy that was unsurpassed, and a heart bigger than anything. A few of my happiest memories include watching the Twins win the World Series in 1987 and 1991 - and in 1991 I can still remember Jack Buck announcing, "and we'll see you....tomorrow night" as Puckett's 11th inning home run landed in the stands, forcing a 7th game to the best series I've ever seen. I vividly recall cheering in my girlfriend's apartment (my roommate was dating her roommate at the time) and opening the windows to hear the cheers from downtown Minneapolis and the streets below. My wife (the girlfriend in the aforementioned scene) remembers this too. Puckett was literally one of a kind, and I'm sorry to see him die so young. I'm grateful for the memories though.
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There are other memories for which I'm very grateful. My maternal grandparents lived in Chicago, while we were growing up in Minneapolis. We would visit once or twice a year, and those trips were always important. Sometimes we would watch 8mm movies, either recorded family events or Mighty Mouse cartoons. My grandmother passed on some years ago, but my grandfather still lives in Chicago. Memories like watching those movies with my grandparents are very precious to me.

Tonight my girls and I brought out the 8mm movie projector and held a "movies on the wall" night. This is something I love to do, in large part because of the times we spent on the north side of Chicago watching movies with the family. My daughters love to watch the movies, and the uniqueness of the experience is helping to build memories (I hope!) for them. And we're very sure to spend time with our own parents so the girls have the same good memories of extended family that we both have had.
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Memories are important. Our history makes us who we are, moreso even than our genes. God understands this. (Um, duh.) He impressed upon Israel the importance of remembering the things they'd seen. The priests were to wear memorials. Joshua built a memorial for Israel after the nation crossed the Jordan river.

God wanted Israel to remember the things He'd done for His people. He also wants us to remember the things He's done for all of us:

14When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God."

17After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide it among you. 18For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."

19And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me."
- Luke 22:14-19

Memories are powerful. They help us see the path we're travelling by showing us where we've been. They inform future decisions, and provide comfort in times of grief. God wants us to remember things; He gave us memories for a reason. We should enjoy them, and think back fondly to those things with which God has blessed us.

The most important memories, though, are those we don't remember from our own lives. None of us were there when Israel crossed the Jordan, or when Jesus and the Disciples partook of the Last Supper. But these are things that are of utmost importance for us to remember too. God is powerful. God is merciful. God is faithful. This is why God gave us the Bible - so we can "remember" and rejoice in His might, His grace, His love.

I'll likely never forget Kirby, and I know I'll never forget times watching 8mm movies with my grandparents - and passing that along to my own children. Those are wonderful memories, the likes of which make me feel extremely blessed. But the best memories for me to pass along are those of how God has worked, is working, and has promised to work.

God bless!

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