tangible memories

by Kristen

I’m wearing my favorite flannel shirt. Well, it’s my only flannel shirt . . . actually . . . it’s the only flannel shirt I’ve ever owned. It was a Christmas present when I was 11, and I’ve given up on ever growing into it.

Every time I put it on memories slip on with it. I remember my 7th grade camp counselor borrowing it. I remember wearing it at end-of-summer beach bonfires. I remember wearing it in Vegas—like putting on home when home felt undefined.

I hold on to things.

The Bible in my glove compartment is in its third car.

The lunch bag my dad decorated for my fifth grade fieldtrip to see Beauty and the Beast at the El Capitan theatre has moved with me to Nevada and back.

The notes my former students wrote to me are tucked away under my bed waiting for the day I’m ready to read them.

They’re more than mementos. They’re tangible reminders of who I was and who I am, where I’ve been and where I am now. They’re places and faces. They’re shorthand for the lessons I need to remember.

I’m too good at forgetting. I forget I wasn’t alone at camp or in the desert. I forget the Word is always at hand. I forget how deeply loved I am by my father . . . and my Father. I forget why I invested in students. Or maybe I didn’t really know.

Then I pause to look around, and the tapestry of memories I’ve woven plays my story back to me again.


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