Every day I ascend and descend that set of stairs in our home multiple times. Bedroom to bathroom to kitchen to family room, and all over again. Up and down. Down and up. But today it was different. I noticed something. I paused long enough to be reminded that sometimes, especially in transition, I lose sight of what's really important.
My wife thinks about everything. Looking back with gratitude is one of her strengths, and she finds creative ways to help even a nomadic family like ours to be grateful for the roots we do have. One example is the Places We Have Lived poster hung at the top of the staircase, a collection of random addresses which holds significance for us because we lived at that house number, on that street, in that town, for a season. Could have been 6 months or 6 years. Regardless, the address has a place on the poster, and in our hearts. That's what greets me at the top of the stairs.
I have some good friends back in the states who are really great about staying good friends. If you've ever lived far away from your homeland you know what I'm talking about. These are friends who make the effort to stay connected even though they live busy lives thousands of miles away.
Last year, following a trip to visit us in Turkey, they sent us a poster-sized collection of photos from our time together. It is titled "Forever Friends." The framed collage is hung at the other end of the staircase, opposite the Places We Have Lived poster. That's what greets me at the bottom of the stairs - a reminder that special people in our lives give meaning and significance to those addresses at the top of the stairs.
Two views from the stairs. One as I go up. One as I come down.
Both my wife and my friends have something in common. They know the importance of memories. They love to savor them and seal them up for a rainy day when the soul needs some encouragement. The ups and downs of transition are a good time to honor memories of people and places with a spirit of gratitude, to anchor ourselves in some part of our past when the future is uncertain.
Think of the places you have lived. What kinds of feelings emerge? How could you honor those memories and the relationships connected with them? How might that help you move forward in your transition time?
“Remember those earlier days...So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.” -Hebrews 10:32, 35 NIV
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