With all the excitement that has been happening surrounding the hurricanes in the last few weeks I found I was caught off guard yesterday when I saw the date on the calendar. It was September 11th.
Time to Remember!
Like most of you, that date will always have a significant meaning to me. Depending on your age, you probably can recall exactly where you were at the moment you heard the first Twin Tower was struck in New York City. So much has happened since then. Our story as a nation has turned many pages. We have had our highs and lows; our good days and bad days. We have experienced emotional roll-a-coaster rides, such as the ones experienced this last week, as we were part of the anticipation, preparation, evacuation, and then the arrival of a massive hurricane system that hit our lower United States.
Even if you didn’t live in the affected areas of the hurricane, most of us had loved ones there. We lived vicariously through the updates as we kept our phones close at hand. We waited for texts and messages to arrive to make sure our loved ones were tucked in safely. Then we watched the current news flashes and waited for the storm. Where and when was it going to hit? Then everyone prayed!
Now, we have the aftermath. Just like we did with 9-11.
The clean-up is the predictable part. That doesn’t mean it is easy, it never has been after massive destruction. Despite that, it can be accomplished by moving forward step by step, day by day. It is exhausting and deliberate. Nevertheless, we are a nation with a history that has done that before. With hand-holding diligence, Americans will step to the plate. But there is another aspect in both of these epic events that similarly runs parallel to the individual narratives of our lives. For it is in these times we are reminded to “remember our stories” and to be thankful.
It is a good “time to remember” and to “keep our stories alive.”
As a nation, as communities, as families, and as individuals; our stories are part of our DNA. And in those stories, hard times are inevitable. Within those chapter walls of most families, as well as individuals, you will not find perfection. However, if we take the time, and if we look close enough, we can find stories of strength and endurance through some awfully large storms. That is why it is so important to take the time to savor those stories! Keep those stories vibrant, no matter the turbulence that was experienced or the magnitude of the storm. It is the history of perseverance that is worth remembering! This is a torch worth passing, this is a story worth telling.
The tradition of story telling began long ago. It was often used to pass along the most treasured and sacred of commandments and family values. Here is a beautiful example. Let me first set the scene.
God had just given Moses the Ten Commandments, which he then shared with the entire community. These were not written down in a book, only Moses had them, so it was important to keep these precious commandments alive through the generations.
First let’s take a look at one of those commandments: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.”(Deut.6:5-6) God was laying the foundation for their lives. Everything else would be built upon this core truth. In the next verse he then tells them how to pass these truths on to their children. “Repeat them again and again to your children when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. (Deut.6:7-8)
Talking and sharing our heart, our history and our foundation with our children is vital if it is to endure. It was how the commandments were passed down, one generation to the next. Once we stop telling the stories, we deny the next generation the benefit of seeing the strength and fabric from where they have come.
Each and every upcoming generation needs to know their foundation is built upon a “solid rock” not “sinking sand.” It is what gives them hope that they too can withstand the storms, no matter the severity or the magnitude. We want them to be able to imagine themselves in the narrative description of the stories of the past, yet know they are unique in their own journey of faith and endurance. For it won’t be long before another generation will come around, and it is then their turn to say: “It is a good ‘time to remember’ and a good ‘time to keep our stories alive.’”
“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children when you are home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. (Deuteronomy 6:5-8)