I’m a sap. It’s true. I feel things deeply and then painstakingly over-analyze why. (You might be a blogger if you have the supernatural ability to transform seemingly pointless minutia into 350 words).
In the weeks leading up to the close of our “no-longer-ours” house, I overindulged in sentimentality. Standing in the doorways of each room, conjuring up memories from the newly emptied space, choking back tears like Brett Favre at one of his 8 retirement press conferences.
A red leather recliner used to offset the fireplace. I sat there cradling a newborn baby Anna the morning we brought her home from the hospital. My wife occupied that same chair when she surprised me with the news she was pregnant with our son, Austin.
A black futon once filled that yellow wall. We watched hours of September 11 news coverage from that perch while our then two year old and only daughter played innocently and at our feet, oblivious to how the world was shaking around her.
We gave our daughter her first guitar in this bedroom. The results are somewhat obvious.
I reasoned, begged, pleaded, and prayed over that furnace when it decided to go on hiatus during the 2011 ice storm. After a good beating, it eventually cooperated (home repair consistently mocks me).
Countless family dinners were served under that light fixture. Countless stories shared. Countless hearts connected. Thank God my wife’s ability to cook didn’t stay with the house. (Oh, and yes, that’s an artificial arm laying on the half wall. My father-in-law is the original bionic man).
I carried a decade’s-worth of sleeping babies, toddlers, and even a few drowsy pre-teens up this flight of stairs. A remnant of pink marker has permanently adorned a few steps (a gift from one of our Safe Families kids). Be careful, the second stair from the top has a nasty squeak. It’s impossible to sneak down to the coffee pot unheard in the darkness of the early morning.
I taught my daughter to catch a baseball in this backyard. Learned my son was a lefty, too. Wrote a few songs while mowing that grass. Pulled more than one kite, ball, and panicked 5 year old from the limbs of that tree. I think most of the dog crap has been picked up, but you might check your shoes.
These memories define so much of our lives. Our mental photo album. They’re precious. Treasures. But this whole process has me wondering…
Do they ever hold us back?
Mark Batterson cautions that the older we get, the easier it is to live out of memory than imagination (science has proven it). We start making decisions based on preservation rather than innovation. To hold onto the past instead of dreaming for the future.
I’d love to hear your thoughts:
Does sentimentality have any place in God’s Kingdom?
How do we honor, embrace, and reflect in moments like these without allowing the emotion to keep us from boldly living into the future?
Has nostalgia ever held you back?
How do we honestly acknowledge our feelings without letting them stall or re-route our journey?
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