They say you stop with your third baby just because you’re so busy or somehow you’re over all that new-momma pride.
But that’s not what did it for me. It’s that I had never scrapbooked 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 project mess?
Perhaps if I had an entire room hidden away somewhere where everything could be spread out and left there over time instead of interrupting my whole house with clutter, then crafts and creativity would be fun.
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.
After years of collecting keepsakes and mementos, my containers, boxes, plastic buckets, and piles grew to mountainous proportions, though.
But not always, and that was my mistake.
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.
Sometimes I do remember.
And sometimes I don’t.
Recently, I dragged boxes out from various corners and hidden places and sorted through the papers and photos. My kids pestered me with questions:
Who drew this, Mom? Who is this, Mom? What does this paper mean, Mom?
They wanted to hear the details of the story and at times 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, and our distracted minds.
We’re not alone in this.
In Matthew 14, we read how Jesus fed the five thousand with a handful of loaves and fish.
In Matthew 15, he did it again, feeding over 4000 with some bread and some more fish.
Then, in Matthew 16, the disciples forget to bring some bread along on yet another daytrip. When Jesus started teaching them about yeast and Pharisees and Sadducees, the twelve didn’t get it. They missed the point completely and thought he was chastising them for forgetting lunch.
They couldn’t focus on His spiritual teaching because they were hyper-focused on their physical need.
O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? ….Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? (Matthew 16:8-11 ESV).
Oh those disciples, sometimes I marvel at their block-headedness and sometimes I just want to put my arm around their shoulders and say, “I get it. I’m right there with you guys.”
We think we’ll remember the miracles and how God delivered us or how He spoke so clearly, cutting right through the noise of our lives to make Himself evident.
Then we forget after all . Two chapters later in our own story, we’re still fretting over how much bread we have in our lunchbox even though Jesus is so able to do abundantly more than all we could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3).
I want to be a historian, a keeper of memories, a relater of miracles and testimonies of His goodness so that I won’t forget.
He’s done it before. He’ll do it again.
So I can rest and trust and even wait with expectation and anticipation to see all that God will do.