Have you ever sat down and tried to remember back as far as you can? Time travel in your mind back to your earliest memory? Our entire lives are stored there and our minds will release these memories periodically when the proper password is provided. The password could be a sound, a certain smell that takes you to a particular time and place. Since music has always been an important part of my life experience, songs unlock portals in my memory and transport me to specific moments.
But here’s a question I have pondered often: Why can we only go back so far in our memories? I am not a doctor, but I am sure there is a reason why we can’t retrieve the details of our birth or most of our first few years. I bet it’s there, though, and wanting to be seen.
My two earliest memories represent experiences common to mankind: pain and longing. Pain is not something we wish for but often shows up in the journey; longing is always in our hearts, the desire for more than what is and knowing there is something coming and that it will soon come to pass.
My earliest memory associated with pain happened when I was 4. I remember getting out of our station wagon and running toward the house of a family friend that lived in Stewart Lake Apartments, Lithonia, Georgia. I was about to spring up the front steps when I tripped and my head hit the side of the concrete step. I was rapidly carried back to the car and transported to Dr. Foster’s office where he stitched my head. 4 stitches on a 4 year old. A short distance away on my head and I would have impacted my temple and most likely died. Because of trauma it was permanently carved in my mind.
My memory of longing has me standing in front of our house on Covington Hwy waiting for my 3 big brothers to come home from school. Since I was several years younger than Mark, my brother closest to my age, I was still at home while they all went to school. I would long for that big yellow bus to come into view and creak to a stop at the end of our long driveway. My brothers would bounce off with their book bags and my longing for playtime with my brothers would be fulfilled.
Pain and Longing. Life is not always easy and the pain can be overbearing at times. Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). He understands that both pain and longing will exist together. We experience the pain, disappointment, and hurt of the world, but God provides longing with his quiet voice whispering, “There is more than all this. Hang in there and you will see. I have more for you…so much more than you can ever imagine. I am making all things new.” The longing and hope get us through this crazy pain-filled life. We hurt and long for what is to come.
And it is coming…you’ll see.