I received a forwarded survey last week, the kind where the recipient answers a set of questions and sends it to all of their friends. Whoever you send it to is supposed to put their answers in and send it back. While I generally find this sort of thing annoying, this one piqued my interest. One of the questions was “What is your favorite memory?”
The other respondents had no problem with this question. Their answers ranged from the first time they saw their wives to the birth of their children to other emotion filled times in their lives. But as I sat there, for the life of me I couldn’t think of one.
I can think of 2 reasons for this inability to come up with a favorite memory. For one thing, I generally keep my focus on the present and the future. I can be as sentimental as the next person, but the topics I think about for the most part are grounded in what is and what will be. It is probably the realization that I only have a limited amount of time on earth that causes me not to ponder the past.
Second, all of my memories could be classified as “good” in one way or another. Of course, the memories of my wedding day, when we brought our children home, and when I made decisions to follow God’s plan for my life are cherished. However, the times when I was brokenhearted, in despair, or in pain have also helped to make me who I now am.
If it were not for the times generally categorized as “bad,” I would not have learned some much needed lessons. If I had not gone through a bout of depression, I would not have learned to have compassion on those struggling with mental illness. If my life had been completely pain free, then I would not have learned to trust in the goodness of God. Some people see the pain and misery of life as a proof that there is no God. However, I see the trials in my life as a way that God was using to help me increase in faith.
In truth, all of my memories are my favorite. It sounds corny, but it is true. I’ve lived a good life; not one without pain or problems, but one in which I know that everything happens for a reason. Things haven’t always gone according to plan, but I’m at peace with that. So far, anyway.