How many people have special memories of grandparents? I do! My grandparents lived in a country farmhouse with outbuildings, gardens, and lots of wooded acreage. Grand memories are inspired when I think of times spent with my “grand”parents. They lived over an hour away which never stopped us from visiting nearly every weekend. Back in the day, an hour drive “seemed” like a lot more than it does today because traveling long distance was not as common. Nonetheless, I have a multitude of memories from childhood about time at Grandpa and Grandma’s!
I have become increasingly appreciative to my parents for making Sunday grandparent visits a priority. Of course, it wasn’t all sacrificial since they benefited from the fellowship as well. They played games, went snowmobiling, and fellowshipped with their siblings while all us kids played with Grandpa, Grandma, and cousins. But there was some sacrifice involved because the fun and fellowship was followed up by a long, tiring Monday. We would usually head up to Grandpa and Grandma’s after early worship service arriving in time for mom to help get everything out for the noon meal with extended family. Grandpa always made the meat and gravy, Grandma the potatoes, and everyone else brought a dish to pass; casseroles, vegetables, salads, buns, desserts, and candy. We were never short of food!
Once the meal was over everyone got busy playing. The guys went upstairs to play cards or outside snowmobiling, playing basketball, baseball, or some other activity. UNLESS, there was Minnesota Vikings football or Twins baseball games being broadcast which took precedence over all else as the men sat in the living room watching a “small screen” television while the rest of us enjoyed the yelling all afternoon. If it was really nice outside, the guys would break away from the television and play with us kids, but the radio accompanied them so we could listen to the announcer blasting away and the uncles could continue their outbursts of “For CRYING OUT LOUD, what are they doing!!!!”
The women did what women do – talk! (I can say that – I’m a woman!) Most of my aunts did enjoy snowmobiling and games as well, but also threw crafts into the mix, as well as long walks and frisbee. But no matter what they were doing there was a constant flow of conversation. Our job as children was to get into as much trouble as possible without getting caught. We explored and got into all of Grandpa and Grandma’s things, digging into every drawer, crook, cranny, and crevice making sure we returned things EXACTLY how we found them (or so we thought). We had our favorite games and activities that were exclusively reserved for weekends at Grandpa and Grandma’s. We rarely asked permission which led to lots of lectures and disciplinary action. But my, did we have fun!
After all the play, we went back to the kitchen where Grandpa and Grandma and a few aunts had stayed “in” to prepare an evening meal with all the leftovers plus a few “new” goodies. This of course was after “snacking” the entire afternoon. But like I said, shortage of food was never an issue, nor was the fun or fellowship. Most Sundays, there was much more entertainment after the evening meal, but never before we sat together while Grandpa and my Uncle Sonny read the Bible along with a devotion with the family. What a legacy they created for me and my cousins to which I am thankful beyond words!
Sometimes we would have a sing-along after devotions, which actually meant I would sit and be amazed as the guitars and harmonicas came out and the aunts and uncles would sing in four-part harmony! Fascinating and inspiring indeed! Other times we did a night snowmobile run or us kids would go outside and play games in which we could hurt each other and then blame it on our inability to “see”.
Going home early was never an option. The sacrifice of being exhausted on Monday morning was worth the fun and fellowship we experienced. But even leaving was an adventure because getting out of their long driveway which wound between a creek, swamp, and fields in the wintertime or heavy rain was iffy at best. All the families usually left about the same time so if one family got stuck, everyone was stuck! There were many nights one of our cars slid off the driveway into the ditch and the guys would attempt to free the car by pushing so that Grandpa didn’t need to rev up his tractor and come to the rescue. Remember – no cell phones so this meant when someone got stuck, either man power prevailed or someone made the long trek back to the house by foot to get Grandpa. The entertainment provided in our attempts to get out the driveway would be the end of many perfect days! Such grand memories at Grandpa and Grandma’s house!
As I near the half century mark and am enjoying the grand role of Grandma, I sometimes wish I knew then what I know now about how special grandparents are. (Sounds like I’m tooting my own horn doesn’t it?) I’m not! I just mean I wish I would have taken the time to know my grandparents better than I did. I wish I would have just sat and asked them questions about their lives instead of always bragging about my own. I wish I would have thought to learn more from them instead of acting like a know-it –all. I wish I would have told them how much I loved and appreciated them instead of simply soaking up all their love and admiration.
But you know, wishing does not really get a person anywhere. So… what shall I do with all this wishing? I will remember so my children and grandchildren remember. I shall invest everything I have into them, no holding back! After all, I think that’s what my grandparents did without expecting anything in return, but surely they got a lot back! I will ask my grandchildren about their day instead of only bragging about my own. I will learn from them instead of acting like I know it all, and hopefully they will be interested in what I know. I will tell them how much I love them often because the words “I love you” are never wasted. I will saturate them with appreciation and admire them up close and from afar. I will brag them up to whoever will listen. After all, they are my “grand” children and should be treated in grand fashion!
Remembering and wanting my grandchildren to remember! What a privilege we have been given in the Lord to remember! Because many people have so many “bad” memories we have made it a habit not to remember. I have made the claim I “cannot” remember things from my childhood, but in reality, the Lord has shown me that I “will not” remember. I had stopped “remembering” anything about my childhood because I only thought of the negative things. Recently, the Lord has shown me truth in His Word about “remembering” which is causing me to “practice” His Word by choosing to forget the things I should (which I usually remember) and remembering those things I should (which I usually forget). By doing this I have discovered hidden blessings and have now embraced my past instead of hiding from it.
Then the Lord explained “why” He has encouraged me to reminisce. Because by remembering, I see how grand my life truly was! I have been able to more fully grasp the grandeur of God in my life through remembering my grandparents as I allow Holy Spirit to bring moments of time to my remembrance. He is a grand God and I have done some grand remembering in Him! I think remembering is something we should practice and not let it “just happen”. If we are not wise in remembering, we tend to forget those things we should remember, and remember all the things God tells us to forget (and forgive). God is fervent about remembering, therefore so should we.
To prove how important the “art” of remembering is, consider the word is used over 160 times in Scripture! God repeatedly tells us – He remembers. He remembers never again will He send a worldwide flood to destroy the earth (Genesis 9:15-16). He remembers His covenant with the children of Israel, and with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to be their God (Leviticus 26:42; Ezekiel 16:60). He remembers the iniquity of those who wander and do not restrain themselves from evil. He remembers their wickedness. (Jeremiah 14:10; Hosea 7:2; 8:13; 9:9). This is a great reminder to confess and repent from sin so that God can remember our sin no more (Isaiah 43:25).
In the Psalms we ask God not to remember our sin from youth, but we want HIM to remember His tender mercies and loving kindness toward us, our offerings and sacrifices, and His congregation. We also want Him to remember the enemy approaches us, and how the foolish man reproaches God daily. We want Him to remember so He remembers to “do” what He says He will do!
Then there are the things we are to remember: The Sabbath day and keep it holy (Exodus 20:8), His name (Ps.20:7), Him (63:6), His works and wonders of old (77:11), and to meditate and muse on His works (143:5). We are to remember people we have hurt so we can reconcile and be in right relationship with God. One of my favorite bible verses is Matthew 5:23-24 “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, then come and offer your gift.” Ah, wouldn’t it be great if we did this instead of waiting around for people to forgive us, or refusing to forgive them? Take notice the directive “to go” when someone has something against you! Beloved, we do not need to sit back and feel sorry for ourselves or be angry at what others have done to us. If people have hurt us we do not go to them and explain how much they hurt us and that we forgive them. We simply forgive them, independent of their attitude or actions! But we ARE to go when we KNOW we have done something to them OR we know they have something against us! We generally do the same thing with forgiveness that we do with remembering. We forgive others for what we need to be forgiven , and we do not forgive others for what needs to be forgiven, just like we forget what we need to remember, and we remember what needs to be forgotten. Yep, that is a mouthful and a mindful! Take some time to reflect and ponder that truth!
More spiritual truths about remembering are discovered in the book of Deuteronomy, because “things happen” as a result of “remembering”.
- We keep the Sabbath day holy by remembering God set His people free by stretching out His arm to save.
- We are never afraid because we remember what God did to Pharaoh and all in Egypt.
- We discover the depth of our heart and know whether we will keep His commandments or not by remembering the Israelites did this as the Lord led them in the wilderness for forty years to humble and prove them. Where is He leading in order for you to discover what you will do?
- We are given the power to get wealth in order to establish His covenant with us when we remember the Lord.
- We desire to be obedient to the Lord by remembering how the Israelites provoked the Lord to anger and were rebellious.
- We are able to stand against stubbornness, wickedness, and sin in our lives by remembering Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob instead of the stubbornness, wickedness, and sin of the Israelites.
Can you see it? We need to forget what should be forgotten instead of forgetting what we should remember. And we need to remember what we should remember instead of remembering what we should forget. Oops! Another mouth and mind full! But stop and meditate on it!
Deuteronomy 32 is a powerful song of remembrance Moses spoke to the people of Israel, reflecting on their journey with the Lord before they would enter the Promised Land. He instructs them to “Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations Ask your father, and he will show you; your elders, and they will tell you” then continues with a narrative about the things of old that the people of God are to remember, ask, show, and tell! We see the final “tada” in verse 47 giving us the grandest reason to value remembering! “For it is not a futile thing for you, because it is your life, and by this word you shall prolong your days in the land….”
It is our LIFE! We need to remember grandparents, consider the generations of our family, ask our parents to show us our heritage, let people older than us tell us true stories of where we come from…. This is not futile! It is our life! In the same way, we must remember God and what He has done with His people throughout the generations. We should ask our pastors and leaders to share the Word with us, to tell us what God has done and is doing. To tell the truth! It is not futile – it is our life here, and forever!