Making Family Memories


Instant replays have become old hat. We now expect them in all televised sports. Whether it’s a tennis pro’s impressive backhand or an NBA center’s slam dunk or a heavyweight boxer’s smashing jab, we never have to worry about missing it the first time around. It’ll be back to view again and again and probably again.

What kind of family memories you are making? Aren’t they very similar to the instant replays? But these “replays” are found in our minds and photos. When you realize you’re making lifetime memories, it may make you think twice before you blurt out that hurtful selfish comment. We all need to laugh more. Someone wrote: “Laughter lingers. It soaks into the walls of a home, coming back to encourage us many years later.”

Bob Benson captures all this so well in his piece, “Laughter in the Walls.”

I pass a lot of houses on my way home
     some pretty,
     some expensive,
     some inviting
but my heart skips a beat
when I turn down the road
and see my house nestled against the hill.
     I guess I’m especially proud
of the house and the way it looks because
I drew the plans myself.
It started out large enough for us
     I even had a study
two teenaged boys now reside in there.
And it had a guest room
     my girl and nine dolls are permanent guests.

It had a small room Peg
had hoped would be her sewing room
two boys swinging on the Dutch door
have claimed this room as their own.
So it really doesn’t look right now
as if I’m much of an architect.
But it will get larger again
one by one they will go away
to work, to college, to service,
to their houses,
and then there will be room
for just the two of us.
But it won’t be empty
every corner, every room,
every nick in the coffee table
will be crowded with memories.
Memories of picnics, parties, Christmases,
bedside vigils, summers,
fires, winters, going barefoot,
leaving for vacation, cats,
conversations, black eyes,
graduations, ball games,
washing dishes, first ride on bicycles,
dogs, boat rides,
getting home from vacation, meals, rabbits,
and a thousand other things that fill the lives
of those who would raise five.
And Peg and I will sit quietly
by the fire and listen to
the laughter in the walls.

Instant replays will replay again and again.  We cannot rear our children over again. Cutting remarks cannot be unsaid. Scars cannot be completely removed. Tear stains on the delicate fabric of our emotions are, more often than not, permanent. Memories are fixed, not flexible. Yes, God will forgive, but you are making memories.

Today is tomorrow’s yesterday. Today is a memory in the making, a deposit in the bank of time. Let’s make it a good one! If your walls could talk, are they laughing?

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Join us Wednesday evenings at 7:15 p.m. in September and October for Chip Ingram’s “Effective Parenting in a Defective World.” 

Author: Scott Wendal

Scott Wendal is the founding and lead Pastor of Valley Forge Baptist in Collegeville, PA. He attained his Bachelor of Arts degree at Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri, in 1981. After completing a three-year internship in Fairfax, Virginia, Pastor Wendal came to the Valley Forge area in July 1984 to begin Valley Forge Baptist. Pastor Wendal and his wife, Jodie, have five children.


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