I have recently come to recognize in myself that I am a Nostalgic-Sentimentalist. (It’s a real thing. No need to look it up.) I tend to become emotionally attached to those things, experiences, places, etc., that I recognize as monumental moments. You know, the mountain-top experiences; the perfect campfire night, the breakthrough you’ve been praying for, the moment the family came together in such a perfect way that you expect Norman Rockwell to show up at any moment to start painting. The “I never want to forget this moment” moments. Personally, I fervently pursue ways to lock those memories into my brain so as to never forget them. And so, I will often keep an object that symbolizes that memory so that I never forget to remember it.
Just this morning, God gave me a good working definition of this compulsion, I mean tendency. (And no Lara, the word is not hoarding. Sheesh) Rather than the bulky term nostalgic-sentimentalist, I am simply a memory collector! I am caught in the never-ending pursuit of reliving good memories, seeking to hold on to those euphoric moments of joy & celebration, ever striving to experience them again.
The objects that symbolize these memories become a combination of the DeLorean Time-Machine from Back To The Future and the Transporter that so often “beamed” Captain Kirk from place to place in Star Trek. Through them, I am instantly transported to the time, the place, and the emotions that brought me so much joy.
One such mini time-machine is my cowboy hat. Though I didn’t purchase it all that many years ago, it mirrors an old beat-up, leather mountain man hat my dad used to wear back in the day. He would wear it working, camping, killing grizzly bears with his bare hands, and wherever else a man of adventure wandered. It reminds me of cool Colorado mornings with mom cooking breakfast over the campfire, with mountain views you would swear were a peek out of God’s own window. It reminds me of my brother, sister and I crossing dangerously cold beaver ponds, that mom and dad bet we wouldn’t cross, to earn a whole nickel. It reminds me of stargazing at a bazillion stars in the infinite night sky, and although not yet knowing His name, knowing there was a wonderful God who created it all. My hat reminds me of a thousand childhood memories.
You see, for me, it’s not as much about the stuff, but what they represent, what’s stirred up in my heart. Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” The moments that touch our hearts in a special way are God Moments. They are sent directly from God above, to remind us of Him. As a loving, caring, ever-involved Father, He is continually drawing us to Himself. When you “see Him” in those moments maybe you’ll be inclined to pick-up a little something to remember it by, and carry it along for the day you need a little reminder of just how good God really is.
~ Pastor Mitch