November 14, 2013
I saw a couple of pictures a few days ago that someone posted online. The first picture was of the back seat of a 9 passenger station wagon from sometime in the 1960’s. The second picture was of a Star Wars fighter type aircraft. Under the first picture was the caption “Looks like”. Under the second picture it said “Feels like”. Honestly I was swept away by nostalgia and emotion. I don’t know why some things from my childhood conjure up such strong feelings! As always I would invite you to do your own reminiscing as you read through this rumination.
Sometime in the early 1960’s my mother bought a brand spanking new, fire engine red, Chevrolet Impala (or Bel Air) station wagon while we were living in Utah for a short while. It was one of the early models where Chevy offered the 9 passenger wagon with the rear seat turned around backwards. It was a child’s adventure land! I remember feeling so far from the driver that I could do anything and not be heard or get caught… which of course is a major part of life for a kid!! It was also the first year (I think) that Chevrolet offered a rear electric window that could be opened from the inside. Models previous to ours had a crank on the outside for opening and closing the window but most had no back seat. Some engineer in Detroit allowed for a “parent’s nightmare” by designing a switch in the back to open and close that window. There was also a switch by the steering wheel up front. I recall it being taboo for my sisters or I to use that switch very often. And we quickly discovered that if the window was opened and we drove down a dusty road the vacuum created by the rear of the car would suck all the dust inside.
WE hauled a homemade cargo trailer back from Utah with that car. Because motels didn’t fit into the budget very well we actually slept in the car and under the trailer on the 4 day trek back to PA. I’m not saying we were the Clampetts but… well… things were different back then. Since we were moving all of our possessions the back was packed and not available to passengers for that trip… but on other occasions sandwiches and drinks for lunch and dinner were passed back from my mother’s lap in the front through the middle seats to whoever was lucky enough to sit in the rear. You would think that facing the “wrong” direction would make for motion sickness but I have no memory of any of us having that problem. Somehow kids seem to have a better handle on that than adults. Well, most kids.
I spent one whole day during that trip in the middle seat of that car screaming my head off… I had cut my ankle opened while swimming in the Colorado River and had to have stitches in some out of the way place. When the numbing agent wore off I started wailing… not one of my prouder moments.
Sometime in 1966 or 67 my sister Ellen plowed into the side of a school bus with that car thus ending its run. Thankfully there were no children hurt although Ellen did have some injuries as I recall. That car got replaced with an older station wagon with no rear seat or electric window. I think I still harbor ill feelings toward my sister for ending the life of that space ship/car. Well okay, maybe not.
It’s interesting how we attach memories to “things”, or smells, or sounds… Certain songs can immediately transform me back to another time. I can actually “feel” what I felt back then. I wonder, as you think about your faith and what progressions you have been through over the years… what sort of things take you back? Do you have thoughts of the past when you hear “How Great Thou Art”, or “In the Garden”? Or maybe when you pass a certain church and you remember an event that occurred there. Or possibly when you are at gatherings and someone mentions an old Pastor you had or a Sunday School teacher. Since I came to the faith through the ministry of Young Life which met in homes I, even to this day, will remember having our weekly gatherings at certain places when I pass them.
Did you know that Egypt is very significant in the history of Judaism and Christianity? “Egypt” is mentioned 614 times in the Bible, “Egyptian” 37 times, and “Egyptians” 91 times. Of the 66 books in the Bible Egypt is mentioned in 29 of them. And why is Egypt so important? Why is it “remembered” so often? Because the most significant event in the history of Judaism originates in Egypt! Obviously that event is The Exodus; Gods deliverance of his people from oppression. They were never to forget what was done for them by a God who loves them. So again, it is referenced over and over again.
I wonder what things in your life have been so important that you need to recall them repeatedly? And especially what sort of things were formative in your faith? Who, what, where helped you on the journey that has brought you to this place? Some folks say they can’t remember. No doubt that is true, but for others it’s a matter of intentionality… i.e. working at recalling events in our lives. I would encourage you to work at remembering the significant events and people in your life who have discipled, mentored and encouraged you.
Judges 6: 7 When the Israelites cried out to the Lord because of Midian, 8 he sent them a prophet, who said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 9 I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians. And I delivered you from the hand of all your oppressors; I drove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.”
1 Samuel 10:17-19 17 Samuel summoned the people of Israel to the Lord at Mizpah 18 and said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I brought Israel up out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the power of Egypt and all the kingdoms that oppressed you.’ 19 But you have now rejected your God, who saves you out of all your disasters and calamities. And you have said, ‘No, appoint a king over us.’ So now present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and clans.”