For several weeks now I have been thinking about the power of memories to sustain. There is a particular story that I have been trying to find – so far without success.
It begins with children flying kites on a beautiful sunny day in some European village. A golden, unforgettable day when mothers threw off their aprons and fathers set aside their work to join the children in the joy of watching the kites sail high above in all that blue.
Months pass, maybe years pass and the village is ravaged by a horrible world war. The writer of the story is incarcerated somewhere and during the long months of suffering he is sustained by the memory of that golden day when the village spontaneously threw everything aside to watch the kites.
At last the war ends and people begin to share their stories and to his surprise, he is not the only one who has been sustained by the memory of that golden day.
What is the memory that sustained me through the long months?
I have thought and thought. And I keep coming back to the moment when Daughter # 4 and I stood gazing at the new bookshelf holding my books for the program of study I would have to abandon in my exile.
The young man who custom made the bookshelf for me had so many difficulties and heartaches in life. But he also had a talent for woodworking and that bookshelf was to me a precious work of art, full of promise. For as my daughter and I stood there praying the thought came to me that perhaps the newly finished bookshelf was God’s way of saying, “I will bring you back.”
The memory of the bookshelf and that moment sustained me through months – many months - when I felt I was in the middle of a vast and trackless ocean of uncertainty and so completely without moorings that I wondered if I would ever have a life again.
Daughter, home … bookshelf!
I don’t know where you are J.L. But I thank God for you. For the bookshelf.
I lost so much that I loved yet God has brought me back to children, home and bookshelf.
I still hope for the study.