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From her column Around the Corner

around-the-corner-01-14-1Celebrations of Christmas 2013 and New Year’s Day 2014 now belong to the ages! Tannenbaum has been taken down, stripped of all embellishments. Lights and decorations are packed away, stored in the attic, a closet, or the garage. If the tree was once alive, it likely has been hauled to the landfill. We may smile or frown as we reflect on events that took place during the celebrations, and thoughts of certain memories may flood in as we try to restore order in our homes.

Hate to admit it, but I am always rather joyous as I say goodbye to the last of my holiday guests. I watch them leave, and then relax as I return to dull-boring-routine mode. I am reminded that at various times, against my better judgment, I have allowed a small child guest to play with one of my treasures only to hear, “Can I keep it?” And I’m thinking, “Why, after seven grandchildren, did I not see this coming?”

Then, stalling, I scrunch up my nose and twist my face around, realizing I cannot afford to answer in the affirmative and employ a few decision-delaying words. “Maybe,”or “We’ll see,” seem to be smart choices. Am much too intelligent to respond with, “If you like it, you can keep it.” Nor would I ever say, “If you don’t like it, just trash it and keep what you already have! It’s much better.” Hmmm—words can be quite compelling at times.

Although the decorations may be packed and stored, memories made will be with us forever, stowed in some groove of our brain to be recalled. Some are good; others not so much. However, my collection of memories is uniquely mine to keep and store away and perhaps recall on occasion. Rilke, a German poet, once said, “Even if you were in prison, and could never hear any sounds, you would still have your treasure house of memories.”

Our brains operate like computers, though much better really. We have learned that anything stored in our computers can be restored, called back by an electronics expert if necessary. However, we have learned through experience and soul-searching that we cannot pick and choose the memories we want to keep.

But for those memories we retain, here’s my sage advice: be certain they remain exclusively yours, store them only in your brain. Never allow them to be orally articulated, videotaped, or entered into the memory of any computer or cell phone (might prove to be embarrassing, requiring us to walk back our words, and/or try to include some words that originally were omitted). Remember: no caveats permitted!

Ever wish you could buy a memory upgrade? I readily admit this is an ongoing desire of mine. It would be cool if we could run a mental vacuum into the nooks and crannies of our brains to either eradicate, or call out a memory on demand. Don’t actually have a solution to that dilemma. Guess the way to have only good memories is always to be mindful of the kind of memories we are creating.

God keeps record of our every thought in His heavenly computer which never malfunctions. Not to worry, though, He has our best interests at heart. Isaiah’s assuring words were, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee” (26:3).

Justine Knight was raised in a parsonage and married to a Nazarene minister for more than 50 years.

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