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I've been thinking a lot lately about this term "making memories." It seems everyone these days talks a lot about it. Before a family trip or vacay, "Let's make some memories!" many of us might exclaim, or even post on social media with excitement.
Is this something we actively thought we were doing before the age of social media? The act of making memories, I mean. I know I never really did, at least not while I was planning the fun event or, you know,
I believe it worked because of my conscious effort
to slow down.
having the fun. I may have looked back later while reminiscing over the pictures and thought something to the effect of, "these are sure some great memories," but never really much before that.
In this season of Advent, I know we've been actively focusing our thoughts on slowing down, purposeful reflection, and really soaking in the meaning of what anticipation and patience truly feel like in our 2017 world. So, in that vein, it really got me to thinking about how very busy we all are, of course.
I know many of us are young moms, and you may be scurrying about this season trying to make sure you get "all the memories in" for your little ones ... baking cookies, taking pictures, Elf on a Shelf, school programs, etc. Perhaps you're the mom of a teen, and you're just busy trying to find that balance in making sure you are working enough hours so you have enough money for the "cool gifts," while at the same time just trying to actually SEE your teenager for a few minutes here and there in between their own busy schedules with work, school and friends. Oh, hey there, you empty-nesters! I see you, and I'm right there with you! We have lots of memories we've already made, don't we? But we still have so many more to make, too!
SO MANY ACTIVITIES!
But what if you really don't feel as if you have any memories to make? What if you feel like your life isn't "social-media worthy"? What if you feel like, "I'm single and alone and don't really have anybody, this is just like any other time of year"?
Well, let me tell ya, that's a tough one. I can relate. I spent many years being single. Twenty-two, to be exact. The first year my daughter had moved to Washington state (might as well be another country, y'all!) and I found out she wouldn't be making it home for Christmas … whoa. It had felt like "me and her against the world" for so many years, and now … this. Yes, I would have the rest of my family on actual Christmas Day, but what on earth would I do with all this time? All my friends had their families and work activities and all the other "busy, busy, busy," so occupying myself in my usual way (seeking them out) was out.
So I decided to do what I always do: pull myself together, slap on a BIG ol' smile, and do two things. First, I reminded myself REALLY fast what Christmas is about (Luke 2:10-11), and second, I did kind of a weird thing. I started making memories out of my memories. I did things and enjoyed things that I would have done previously with my daughter, but this time I made the effort to enjoy them in that moment for what they were, while really appreciating the previous memories. Pretty soon, I wasn't feeling sadness or loneliness or really any negative feelings anymore.
I know it sounds like a hall of mirrors on some kind of hippie 60's soundtrack, but it worked. I believe it worked because of my conscious effort to slow down. To purposefully reflect. To anticipate the day.
To remember what is really important.
Kelli Karnish is married to Jim and is an autoimmune fighter/chronic pain warrior. When she isn't kicking disease and taking pain names, she loves to wear, collect, and learn about the beautiful sparkly rocks that God created. She also has a bit of a makeup obsession, and has been known to talk for days about rock 'n' roll history.