What Dates You? Let People Define the Times

So much has changed.

I was looking through old photos for a #ThrowbackThursday Instagram post. (Check out this #SpringPhotoADayChallenge; it’s not too late to join in. My posts are here.)

I came across this picture from 2010.

I do still wear the shirt.

  • But the laptop has since died and been replaced.
  • The glasses became too weak and had to become stronger.
  • The Kindle beside me stopped working and got upgraded to a Paperwhite.

And the house? It was where I grew up until I got married and left home in the 1980s.

But in March 2010, we were back spending lots of time sitting on that couch across from Mama. Daddy had just died a month earlier on Valentine’s Day 2010.

Mama’s Alzheimer’s was picking up speed after Daddy’s death. We siblings and spouses and grandkids were taking turns staying with her.

It was a hard season. But one I don’t want to forget.

Some seasons seem to move so slowly. Yet looking back, they rushed by.

While we don’t want to get stuck in time, sometimes we also don’t want to move forward.

  • We don’t want to forget the people we once lived with.
  • The experiences we shared.
  • The graces God brought us.

But it is safe to release the past. Because the past has done its work. We won’t forget it.

Who we once were has become part of who we are now.

Maybe our hairstyles change and our clothing modernizes and our technologies update. But the people we once knew? They stick.

Who we were with then? They’re also part of who we are now. They’re embedded in us.

We can’t explain how. But we don’t have to. It’s a mystery for God to understand.

Today is my dad’s birthday. If cancer hadn’t overtaken his body (or something else by now), he would have been 81 years old. We likely would have sat across from him today on that same couch in the same living room. I miss him and my mom.

But because I’m still here, a piece of them is still here, too.

God wove our paths together when I was conceived. And our paths stay forever braided together, whether here or there, even while I live attentive in the present, and grow forward into the future.

Our dates and times remain preserved in God’s hands.

* * *

Who are you missing? Do you still feel their presence with you? It’s a mystery. Please share in the comments.

19 thoughts on “What Dates You? Let People Define the Times

  1. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    What a warm and loving post, Lisa! Truly awesome.

    I’ve found that as death comes ever closer – and every day is an -end-of-the-world feeling for me now, the part of my past that comes back to help is my work as a mercenary.

    There is humour in the process of dying, and a kind of quiet challenge – how far can I push myself? How much can I take?

    Pain is off the chart, and I feel as I write this like some giant is punching me in the stomach, and his mate is doing the same in the back, and the pain in my lungs is such that I have to do a Moses…only instead of Aaron and Hur, my service dogs Ladron and Sylvia support my arms.

    But it’s all so very funny; and this is God’s blessing of remembrance, that black humour is still humour, and that what I was – a hooligan-at-arms who took nothing seriously – is what I am now, and it’s what gets me through.

    Hope this is coherent. I’m writing through pain, and it is a bit difficult to think.

    But it’s not hard to laugh.


  2. Theresa Boedeker

    Aww Lisa! What a beautiful and true post. People who have gone before us are still intertwined in our life.

    My daughter sent me a recent YouTube about a fashion blogger wearing clothes from 2010 to see what people’s reactions would be in 2018. Well imagine this. I was still wearing some 2010 fashions. Who knew? Well, if you are still wearing that top from 2010, I guess we are fashion sisters : )

  3. bill (cycleguy)

    Love the picture Lisa! You look so…so…intent on what you are doing. 🙂 This past week in my sermon I talked about events of the past. 9/11. The assassination of President Kennedy. Shooting of President Reagan. Yeah…I dated myself big time. LOL But I don’t care because that is part of me. This past Friday (April 13) my mother would have been 86 if she had not gone to be with Jesus in March of 2004 from cancer. I’m not sentimental about those things but this one I was. I also miss my father-in-law from time to time. Finally, want a throwback picture? I found the page of my high school yearbook which shows Jeff Goldblum (yes him) as a classmate and his picture right above mine. He hasn’t changed. Me? Hmmm.

  4. Patti Gardner

    What a lovely post, Lisa! Powerful and wise words you have written.

    People I once knew—due to the sudden passing of two of them, I was inspired to get back to blogging and to change the name of my blog.

    Your dad and mine were born less than a month apart. My dad will be 81 in early May. Thankfully, he is alive and in very good health—my mom too.

    Oh, that’s a great picture. It’s so fun to look back at old photos.

    Patti at Ninety-Twelve Psalms Avenue

  5. Barbara Harper

    We’ve noticed, as we were furniture shopping the last few weeks, that furniture has gotten boring over the last 30 years. We used to see all kinds of plaids and florals like that one – now they’re just boxy monochromatic rectangles. But I guess the idea is to bring in color and pattern with accessories. Which makes sense – accessories are easier to replace or change out with the season or styles changes that the whole couch.

    Those special days – birthdays, Mother’s and Father’s Day, anniversaries of someone’s passing – can bring a pang, especially the first few years. But over time the pang is lessened and the memories sweeten the day.

  6. Trudy

    Thank you for this hope-filled post, Lisa. Those special dates can be especially hard, but you help us to remember our loved ones are still embedded in us. The pic of you and your hubby sitting side by side on your laptops is sweet. 🙂 Love and hugs to you!

  7. Donna Reidland

    Your hairstyle looks a lot less dated than some of my old photos! 🙂 It is true that (hairstyles aside) the past and the people we’ve known are all a part of who we are and who we are becoming. Thanks for the reminder.

  8. Sarah

    Because I’m still here, a piece of them is still here too. Love that!
    I miss my grandparents and Mom but will see them all one day. I am teaching my girls the things they taught me.

  9. Karen Friday

    Beautiful post, Lisa. Simply beautiful. Love this, “But it is safe to release the past. Because the past has done its work. We won’t forget it. Who we once were has become part of who we are now.”

  10. Beth

    We all need to take these moments to reminisce and remember the wonderful and even sad times we had throughout our lives, Lisa. I love this trip down memory lane that you took us on. And I’m grateful you have highlighted the threads of your days that mean so much to you still today. Beautiful and poignant, my friend!

  11. Karen Woodall

    ” it is safe to release the past. Because the past has done its work.” I love this idea. so often our past haunts us and it ruins the present because it hangs onto us like and anchor, but we can release the past and all it’s mistakes and heartaches because we have looked at it and learned the lesson God wants us to keep. And then, it’s time to move on…. thanks

  12. Lois Flowers

    I know what you mean about not wanting to forget the hard seasons, Lisa. As I think back to some very hard days with my parents last year, what I remember most is how much closer I got to my dad and how God healed my mom. I know we have more hard days ahead, but for now, those thoughts are helping me enjoy each day as it comes. As for clothes and such, I’m in the process of culling my closet, getting rid of stuff I don’t wear and don’t like. I asked my 16-year-daughter to help me, and I was a bit shocked to realize that some of the stuff she pulled out is older than her! Beautiful post (and I love the picture too)!

  13. June

    As I read this I’m listening to them sing “In the Garden” at Barbara Bush’s funeral. It was my Nana’s favorite hymn, also sung at her funeral many years ago. I just texted my mom. She’s watching it too, and we’re both a bit teary eyed! I love your post. Focusing on those who are part of lives rather than the passing fashions is indeed profitable. Blessings on your weekend, Lisa!

  14. Jean Wise

    I find when I try to remember when something happen I would guess, say 5 years then find out it has really been 10 years. Time flies! Love seeing the photo. I don’t think you have aged – only the computer style.

  15. Carlie

    Such a thoughtful post, Lisa! I love that statement -‘our paths stay forever braided together, whether here or there’. It brings some comfort as I remember my dad and my youngest brother.

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