But today ..
Today, I’m flat and depleted and emptied, not of memoirs, but because of memoirs.
I haven’t run out of them, I’ve just been run down by them.
By the weight of them, and the fact that, by nature, they’re history.
And sometimes that hurts.
Yesterday, in preparation for a garage sale, my sister and I sat on the carpeted floor of her basement and went through more Rubbermaid totes of belongings that used to be our mom’s.
For the umpteenth time, our fingers flipped pages of albums, removed photographs from frames, sorted, tossed, kept. The totes and pictures that I’m convinced have learned how to reproduce and multiply themselves. I told my sister that we’ll have to advertise at the garage sale, “Buy one album, get seven free.” I was only half joking.
The pictures and albums that I’m so grateful for, so attached to, yet that evoke such bittersweet heartache and wistful half-smiles.
And in the midst of the piles of framed and loose photos were piles of artwork, including this watercolor done by my mom ..
.. and this colored pencil drawing I did in high school …
.. And I paused and thanked God for the gift of art, and for the love of art and beauty passed on to me by my maternal grandma, my mom, my aunt, my uncle. I thought about the legacy left behind, with so many photos and works of art capturing moments of beauty, of time spent crafting memories, paintings, landscapes on the canvas of life and impressionable hearts.
And I asked myself,
What am I doing to craft memories for my own children?
How am I instilling a love of art, of beauty, of story in their soft and tender hearts?
What memoirs will they sift through in their own minds when I’m gone?
What will the watercolor washes of my life speak to them when the paint is dry and the brushes are laid to rest?
Most importantly, how are my actions, words, soul-pourings, daily surrenders showing them the God of the Bible who is the ultimate creative, the greatest artist, the One who gifts us with memory and story and life and imagination to enjoy in the first place?
It doesn’t have to include a paintbrush or even a pencil.
The art that we make and the memories that we shape as we press Band-Aids to scraped knees, serve meals to hungry tummies, practice spelling words and multiplication facts, tuck blankets around tired bodies .. may they all point to the One who created it all, for His glory.