A couple of weeks ago, Mike cleaned out our garage. Our garage was full of stuff. Mowers, signs, tools, batteries, air compressors etc. Really too much to list. When the garage was done, Mike said, “Hey, come see the garage. It is so clean. It’s great.” I followed him down the hall and walked through the door into the garage and my breath got caught in my throat. Right there, on the wall, hanging up, taking up the room, was Boston’s car seat. Dusty. And with a toy that he played with sitting in the seat.
The garage looks amazing. The floor is clean and a car could fit right in perfectly. Car batteries are lined up on a shelf. Tools are put away. Tables are cleaned. I noticed all of the cleanness, but first I noticed Boston’s unused car seat. His carseat has been hanging up there on the wall for 20 months.
When we pulled it out of the car, we didn’t know what to do with it, so Mike just put it on a hook on the wall. When the garage was full of stuff you didn’t notice the car seat too much, but with the garage clean….that car seat seems like the focal point of the garage now.
Folks have told us, “I didn’t want to bring up Boston because I didn’t want to remind you of ______.” or “I didn’t want to say _________ because I didn’t want to remind you of your pain.”
I think that that effort is sweet, but the thing is, you can’t not remind us. We remember everyday. We walk into garages and remember. We walk into bedrooms and remember. We fold laundry and remember. We grab six plates instead of five plates for dinner and remember as I put the extra plate back. We order six frosties instead of five frosties and remember, as we try to figure out what to do with the extra frostie. We listen to an Ed Sheeran song and remember and cherish all of the photographs we have. We see backhoes and skidsteers and monster trucks and we remember.
When a loss has been so great, either through a death, a divorce or a failed friendship, remembering just happens. It’s a natural occurrence in the everyday life. We’re reminded of things all the time. Some really wonderful moments and some really horrible ones. These memories are a reminder of life lived and life enjoyed. They push us on to strive harder and to succeed more and sometimes they’ll push us away from people we love and relationships that we truly value.
There are many times in the Bible that God wants His people to remember. Passover is a great example. The Jews celebrate Passover to remember what slavery in Egypt was like and how God delivered them from the hand of Pharaoh and began to set their sites on the Promised Land and to remind them that they were His chosen people.
At the Communion Table we remember the sacrifice Jesus made for us. We remember His death. We remember His pain. We remember how He suffered, for us.
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (Emphasis mine)
Being reminded isn’t bad, and many times it is good to be reminded by people outside of our family, because it shows us that you remember our boy. No reminder would be hurtful because he is part of our story. Just as remembering what Jesus did on the cross for us reminds us of The Story that is far better than any story ever written, and that offers us so much more hope. Because of His sacrifices, He can make this promise:
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4
So, remind us. Even if it hurts, because it isn’t the memories that hurt, it’s the missing that hurts and one day Jesus will wipe away those tears. For that, I am grateful that He is enough in this.