I stopped three years ago.
They say you stop scrapbooking with your third baby just because you’re so busy or somehow you’re now over all that new-momma pride of first-time mothers or even second-time parents.
But that’s not what did it for me. It’s that I scrapbooked not because I’m crafty or creative, in love with paper and colors, a fan of stickers and shaping scissors, or content to spend a few hours (or days) cropping photos and writing in the margins with a gel pen.
I scrapbooked because that’s what moms do.
Good moms anyway.
But I found out it had become a dreaded chore, the dragging out of the massive Rubbermaid container, the aching back after hours of gluesticks and paper cutouts, the stressing over straight lines and paper scraps.
Mostly, though, it was the clean-up afterward that did me in. I may have time to make the albums (maybe?), but who has time to clean up from the project?
Perhaps if I had an entire room hidden away somewhere where mess could endure and not rattle my brain with annoyance and confusion, crafts and creativity would be fun. Play with the paper, leave the scraps out on the table. Arrange the pictures and leave them unfinished for another day.
Life’s not like that, though. Mess needs to be stashed away. It takes time to set up and time to clean up, so mostly I just leave the project alone before I begin.
For 3 years, it’s been stashed. More memories of my girls poured in, so I piled them into boxes and plastic buckets and pushed them under the bed or stacked them up in this closet and that one.
Not always, though, and that was my mistake.
Because you think you’ll remember every detail of the who and when and what. You think you’ll remember the stories, the firsts, every reason behind the paper that sits stacked in a cardboard box in your closet.
But really, we forget.
I dragged boxes out from various corners and hidden places and sorted through the papers and photos. I didn’t find out how much I remember; I discovered how much I’d forgotten.
Who drew this, Mom? Who is this, Mom? What does this paper mean, Mom?
My children wanted to hear the details of the story and I struggled to remember which one of them had drawn that detailed picture of stick people with fingers sticking out of their arms like twigs or written me that note: I luv mom.
How forgetful I am. Life pushes me faster and faster, rushing through this day and the next, and even those moments you most expect to remember blur into the fog of it all.
Memory isn’t passive, not the way we expect it to be. No, remembrance is an active discipline, a choosing not to forget despite our humanness, our busyness, our moving on.
I glance through my notes from a women’s conference two days later. Right now, I still recall the mannerisms of the speaker on the stage, the intonation when she read this verse, the way she punctuated this lesson, the tiny details of the story she shared, and the way I laughed or cried or nodded my head from my blue cushioned seat across the arena.
How long will that last?
I think surely I will remember this promise, of course I will remember that challenge. But maybe not. Maybe I’ll feel vaguely encouraged, but not recall the why and wherefore.
We think we’ll remember the miracles, too, the accounts of how God delivered us, the times He carried us right out of the pit, the stand-still encounters with God when it seemed like He cut through all the noise of this world and the cacophony of our own emotions and He spoke to us, God to person, one clear voice cutting through it all with a message we’ll never forget.
Yet, we forget it after all.
Amos the prophet says that we even forget the lessons God has taught us:
“‘My people have forgotten how to do right’ says the Lord” (Amos 3:10 NLT).
Not what was right… so much as how to actually do it.
Even our best intentions to bless others or to reach out remain meaningless until we actually remember to follow through.
So, I transfer my notes from the conference over, being intentional, taking the time to fill in the details.
I take that card written, addressed, and even stamped out of my car and actually place it in the mailbox.
Taking the time….making the time…to remember before I forget.
Heather King is a busy-but-blessed wife and mom, a Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in November 2013! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2013 Heather King