Forgetting What We Never Knew
The last few weeks have been chaos. Between the scurrying of feet across cleaned floors and the packing of items for an eventual move, the Torrey house has been Operation Insanity. I am proud to state that of this last edit we have agreed in principal to sell our house. Closing date is on the horizon.
We moved into my parents' house over two weeks ago in an effort to pack our house more efficiently. This plan also allowed for a cleaner house for showings. Given the quick sell of our house I think this was a great decision. This plan has worked but at the cost of sleep. All five of my household attempted to sleep in the same room for over a week. The chaos was flowing. We have made some changes but I'm still concerned about my wife's sanity.
What has flowed out of that chaos has been an incredible blessing for my children. They have gotten to spend a lot of time with their grandparents, as well as their aunts and uncles. It has also given me time to reflect upon the incredulity of the situation. Recently, my mother received an e-mail with a bunch of old photos of her and her family. The echoed "I'm not sure" to questions of "when" and "where" was prevalent. There is a time and age long past. The pictures reflect time forgotten and only recalled through photography.
As I heard the echoes I reflected upon my own childhood. I do not recall two of my grandparents. My time as a child is scattered across many homes and I only see the fading shades of memories. Baseball in the backyard. A teenage mutant ninja turtle birthday. NES with a cousin. SNES with a cousin-in-law. The possibilities would be endless if I could remember more. But I can't. No more than my mother could remember the memories captured on the photographs.
My children now reside with their grandparents. They wake up every morning and fall asleep every evening in their home. For us, the time is chaos. For my parents, the time is potentially bliss. For my children, it will eventually be a time forgotten. Every moment. Every breakfast. Every day in the pool is merely another set of memories that will be forgotten. They will not recall in their youth the spring time spent swimming in water still too cold. They will not remember all five of us sleeping in a single room. They will not recall Judah's night terrors as four of us sleep in the same bed.
As with my mother and me, my children will not remember. There will come a day when they look back on digitally altered photos wondering what it was like to live with their grandparents. Perhaps I will be dead and unable to remind them. They may remember more clearly the house we are only now about to buy. Many things will crowd their little minds. But for these few days I will remember their quirky smiles, their excitement over pool time, and their fascination with stairs.
These days are crucial to their lives and development. My children are learning to swim. They are being taught to wrestle and fight by their grandfather. Their uncle lets them watch his video game sessions. They will not remember, but they will not be the same. They are real, whole, and complete people. Being able to remember is not the defining element of time being important. They are changing. They are growing. They are being disciplined. They are developing rather funny personalities.
So also it is with spiritual things. My children do not remember their baptisms. They will not remember their first communion. They may not remember Redeemer Presbyterian Austin at all. But guess what? They will never be the same. God looks down on each of us as little children who cannot fathom the depths of His love and communication. The truth is that when God speaks human age ceases to matter.
We treat children similarly. We talk to children knowing they won't remember. We make them laugh. We sing and dance with them. We discipline them. We cook them meals. We pray with them and take them for walks. None of this remembered but always effective in developing my children into the people they will be.
This is why we baptize. This is why we provide the supper to children. This is why our house practices family worship as often as possible. Not merely because we can check off some passages in Ephesians but because God has promised to use those events to speak to our children. The same way my parents are envious of every moment with our children, the Lord is envious of each means of grace.