BY REV. DAVID MERRITT |
Summer memories are important milestones in one’s development. For our family, it was picnics along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Drive-In Theatres, Neighborhood Bookmobiles, Family Gatherings, and the occasional ice cream truck coming by offering the cold treats. These are just some of my favorite memories. Yet in all these collected memories, one stands out among them all. It was a family vacation to the Catskills Mountains while visiting my uncle and aunt in Poughkeepsie, NY.
The trip was delightful and quite out of the ordinary for our family, far from the Piedmont of NC. However, the other part of the story is more complex. The only concrete memories I have of the trip was our car pulling up to their home and visiting the Empire State Building. Although I should have had more memories, they have been lost. With the death of my mother and the changes that came our way as a family, memories from my early life are fleeting. So, why is this a keepsake memory for me?
The answer lies in a misplaced picture found in our family home of my mother and brother taken at the Catskills Game Farm. In the picture, My brother Ed is feeding a young deer while she is looking from the side. The picture isn’t remarkable, but what makes it all the more memorable is the look on her face and the sense in that moment, Ed was the object of her attention. In fact, I don’t even remember the incident, but when I look at the picture, I realize that moma was there, engaged in an emotive moment in time, among the beauty of the setting.
How many times do we lose sight of the simple yet profound moments in life where the connection between parent and child is at the forefront of all our thoughts? How many times in our lives do we overlook or misplace the treasured seconds when love is felt, received, and shared? And yes, what are the moments in our lives when nothing else matters except just BEING ALIVE and sensing joy in each day?
I am sure the trip (being a long one from NC to NY) was a challenge to moma and daddy with three boys in the back of a Pontiac Chieftain, but the picture in my possession shows me another side to the story. Along the way, there was laughter, new sights and sounds, sidewalk chatter, hugs and kisses, a backyard barbecue, pretzels, Grape Crush Drinks, and counting cars.
“The moment is now” is also a familiar theme in the Gospels. Jesus often reminds his disciples that the Kingdom of God is near (nigh). Yes, God is near in those moments of our lives. God is evident in the smallest detail among us. God is present in the joy and wonder of a summer night filled with fireflies and tree frogs. God’s Kingdom is present in the now of worship and the now of God’s people. God is present – present tense!
May the Peace of Christ be yours in times such as these and all of life as ponder the wonder of God’s Kingdom!
About the author
The Rev. David Merritt is a retired Pastor, former Dean, Outreach Director, and Chaplain, but he’s “papa” according to his grand-kids. David loves God, Laurel Ridge, and his family. He has enough sense to get out of the rain but prefers raindrops anyway.
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