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Winter wonderland memories

No wonder someone called them “Windows of light for the soul.”

Memories.

Of all creatures here on terra firma, only we homo sapiens have the ability to remember. While it’s true that salmon always swim upstream to return to the place of their birth to lay their eggs before dying … and while the swallows still return to Capistrano at the same time every year … and while lost dogs like Lassie are still able to find their way home from hundreds of miles away … all of these are instinctive, not memories.

Likewise, young ducks or chicks will follow the first thing they see after hatching and the cries of young animals are always recognized by their mothers, this is because of imprinting, not memories.

So, again, we humans are the only ones who can tuck away significant experiences — sights, sounds, smells — in the recesses of our mind and recall them at will. And, depending on our view of them, they’ll either bring us joy or inward pain.

This past week our area was hit with an artic cold front, which dumped several inches of snow and ice on us. Certainly not fun to drive in or walk around in. And, when the power is out, it makes it that much more miserable.

However, as I was walking down the sidewalk to my office, I noticed the familiar tracks of a rabbit. Suddenly, my mind raced back to years ago when my father and I went out rabbit hunting on a wintry day. He showed me their unique tracks and how to tell which direction they were going.

So, slowly we began tracking him and before long we came upon him. Slowly, my dad handed me the single-shot .22 rifle, helped me steady my aim and then whispered, “Pull the trigger.” And, in the blink of an eye I bagged my first rabbit and jumped for joy as my father said “Atta boy!”

What a precious, “Kodak Moment” memory.

Then, my mind raced back to those times of helping our three sons build their first snowman. Or, the time they went sledding down the hillside into a ravine on a large piece of cardboard. Or, the time two other guys and I went sledding downhill on a much too-small, red snow-sled down an old logging trail in the woods out into an open field.

The only problem was there was a briar patch in the field around 20 yards from the wood-line and you had to make a sharp turn to the right to avoid it. One of my buddies didn’t quite make the turn on one run and plowed straight into the briar patch.

When we reached him, he was moaning and crying “Get me outta here!” So, into the patch we waded, wincing in pain as the briars hung on our hands. And, then we started laughing so hard tears streamed down our faces.

Why?

Because the briars had taken him captive! They were stuck in his eyebrows, his nose, his lips, his ears and he couldn’t move! We threatened to leave him there, but he cried “If you do, when I get out of here I’ll kill you!!”

So, we slowly extracted him from the Brier Rabbit patch and went on our merry way. But, in the process we recorded some great memories in our minds for future reference — which are precious to me now, since both of those friends died a few years later.

Dear Friend, you may have a lot of painful memories from the past; but, don’t dwell on them. Instead, try to recall those good times with family and friends … those precious moments when tears of joy streamed down your face … or those times when God sneaked up on you and blessed you beyond measure.

And, don’t forget:

It’s never too late to make some new memories. Why not start today? Ask the Lord to help you savor those special times of your life today — whether it’s snowing or not — so you can look back on them in the days to come with great fondness. You’ll be glad you did — especially during those dark days of your life. God bless you.

To contact Bro. Tom or receive his daily e-mail devotional, entitled “Morning Manna,” write him at P.O. Box 10614, Fort Smith, AR 72917 or e-mail him at pressingon@hotmail.com.

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