Every February when the sunscreen display shows up in the center aisle at Walmart, I grin. The smell of Coppertone takes me on a memory chase of long days at the pool, then by the Blue Moon popsicles, past hamburgers on the grill, and ends up with my Dad mowing the lawn. How can an $8.00 bottle of lotion cause an instant replay of childhood summers?
Memories are powerful and stir up strong emotions that have settled like sediment in the bottom of the lake. Some memories are best left undisturbed because they’re like snakes under a rock. Others are so wonderful they’re medicine for the soul. Your memory bank may have deposits of wonderful or less than stellar experiences. If the not-so-good out number the good, think of the hundreds of new memories waiting to be made.
We all know those who live reminiscing the accomplishments of the past. But who really cares about the game winning free throw 20 years ago? Marinating in good times is so comfortable people seem to get stuck. I always want to ask, “That’s awesome, but what have you done lately?” I’ve never actually had the courage to do that, yet.
What is it you’ve always wanted to do? Big things like starting your own business, learning to paint, going back to school or simpler things like challenging yourself to read good books, memorize scripture, or simply to share random acts of kindness every day? While we’re off slaying the dragons of daily life we forget about our dreams.
God has gifted each of us with strengths and abilities we’ve never tapped in to or, for whatever reason, we’ve shoved into a corner. There they sit patiently waiting to be uncovered. I read once “All of us are gifted. It just takes some longer than others to unwrap their gifts.” Sadly I’ve heard so many people say, “I really feel like I should fill in the blank with a dream, but … fill in the blank with an excuse.”
If instead of wasting energy making excuses we took action, we would amaze ourselves. Years ago my friend Bob Luke said, “Sometimes you just have to stand at the back of the high dive, take a deep breath, run and jump off and don’t look back.”
So many times we climb the ladder, walk to the end of the board, hold our noses and talk ourselves out of jumping. What if I fail? I’m not smart enough. What will everyone think? I’m too scared.
What’s holding you at the back of the diving board by the ladder? Erma Bombeck once said, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I hope that I will not have a single bit of talent left and can say, ‘I used everything You gave me’.”
Don’t let your memories be bigger than your dreams.