Taken from www.vijayforvictory.com
Over the years, we’ve had computers, external hard drives, flash drives, thumb drives, CDs, DVDs, CD-Rs, CD-RWs, Mini-CDs, memory cards, SD cards, MicroSD cards, 3.5 Floppy Disks, Floppy Disks, and more… and now, of course, we have “The Cloud”– or really, multiple clouds.
I have my own collection of videos, songs, recordings, documents, pictures, files, and folders on a variety of storage media that I have transported from one place to another– I’ve tried to put some of it on my cloud, but it’s a lot of work to get it all there.
I know that I am a pack rat when it comes to all these things– because I’m not saving the files themselves, but the experiences, ideas, and memories connected with each file. A video brings up emotions, an old Word Document lets me wrestle with thoughts I once had. I save them, because I want to savor them.
But haven’t we all been doing this for centuries? Not with computers and files, but with physical objects. We hold on to physical things, not because they contain memories like a computer has memory– but because they help us recover memories that are found within our heart, mind, soul.
I look around my apartment and see a whole collection of treasures that really have no worth in themselves– but the worth I ascribe to them is priceless.
Teddy- A green Teddy Bear that Zack Fisher (an older family friend) won at a Mayfair at TASIS in England and gave to me. Certainly my most precious toy from childhood. He smells like old popcorn, cause I colored him with a “buttered popcorn” scented marker when I was around ten.
Ajira Bottles- I purchased these in a Lost Auction a few years ago– there’s quite a few of them and they were actually screen-used, meaning they were on the TV show! So they certainly have worth, but mainly to me and other Lost fans. These remind me of the good ole days of watching Lost with friends– but also my foolishness in participating in an online auction and spending way too much (don’t ask me how much…)
Sword- This sword was given to me upon my college graduation by a friend and mentor, David Martin, as a reminder to let God’s Word pierce my soul.
Random Treasures- A beautiful rock that looks like it comes from an alien planet. A flower pin. A beautiful teacup. A puffy squirrel keychain. Perfectly random, but perfectly wonderful– and they all remind me of specific times in childhood.
Rocks- I’ve collected rocks almost all my life. And to any random person, they are all pretty boring. But one of these is a “sett” (or cobblestone) from the streets of Stavanger, Norway– one that was kicked off to the side on a trip in 2009, one that I was carrying through security in Newark and almost got flagged as a terrorist (one handler’s comment: “You aren’t letting him through with THAT, are you?!”), and somehow brought home. One of these was found on a trip to a Norwegian beach from childhood, and I always felt that it was a volcanic rock with hardened bubbles of lava. Not sure if it really is. And one of them is simply a fun piece of quartz. Not remarkable, but meaningful to me.
Picture- This picture sat behind my sink at home in Cypress the 12 years we lived there. I think it took up residence there quite early on– so when I moved up here, where did you think I had to put it?
Russ Hat- This hat was given to me on that 2009 trip to Norway by Samuel Olson, a younger friend we knew when we used to live there. He wore it for the “russfeiring” from his senior year– you can read about this on Wikipedia, but it’s a long story. But the fact that he gave me this piece of his life and a memory from Norway means a lot to me.
Charlie Brown Poster- I got this at a church garage sale and put it up during my college years in my dorm– and it became an iconic part of our “Kingdom” days, back when my roommate Marcus and I had events for people to come and hang out in our room and get “royal titles” to be part of the Kingdom that was our room. Weird, I know. But Charlie Brown was the King of the Kingdom. And he’s seen a lot of great memories.
Crowder Poster- I stole this poster after the music conference that was at Baylor my senior year– there was a team of people picking up the posters around campus and I took this one before they could… surely they were just going to throw them out, right? Well, now it hangs over my closet as a reminder of all the music and memories of college.
Mickey Mouse Alarm Clock- I got this in Disneyland Paris, and it has worked on and off for years. Only recently did it stop working again, but it’s happened before– and if I wait, I’m sure it can be restored. Kind of like childlikeness– it comes and goes sometimes.
Whining Sign- Picked this up on a trip the summer I worked with High School Students with my home church– the summer I wasn’t at Forest Glen, the camp I’d been at for ages. I saw this sign and loved the humor– and I bought it, thinking that maybe if I ever get back to camp, I could put it somewhere for the campers and counselors to see, so that I wouldn’t have to use the “Whine-a-Line” to call the “Waaah-mbulance” every time someone whined.
Rest Poster- I made this as a promo for See You At The Pole my senior year of High School. Designed on our old computer. Printed at Church. Hung up at school the year I was the Chaplain. So many aspects go into memories– and without this poster, I would forget many good things.
My Camp Treasure Trove- I could (and should) write a post just about this collection of memories. Trophies. Notes. Pictures. Bracelets. Camp was and is such a special part of my life– and when I look over these items, I want to cry, dance, mourn, sigh, and rejoice all at the same time.
In the TV Show Alias, there were countless times where Sydney Bristow had to recover some piece of information stored somewhere. (I recently rewatched the series– and it brought back memories too!) Sometimes she needed a key or a cipher or some other piece of technology to actually access the information– in one case, there was half of a microchip that needed the other half to be read.
That’s how physical objects work, sometimes. The memories are there, in your heart, your mind, your soul. But they have to be drawn out or brought to the surface– and treasures of the past can do that. They can transport you to another time and place and let you remember who you once were. Sometimes it’s a joy, sometimes it’s bittersweet– but more often than not the journey is worth it. At least for me.
I know it’s dangerous to be such a pack rat. Because a living space can only contain so much (as some of you would say) clutter or (as some of you meaner people would say) junk. But also because a soul can only contain so many memories. I can look at an item from early childhood, one that I know was really important for a period of time– and it brings back very few memories. But sometimes I hold on to it, simply for old times sake.
I have to remember to purge and clear my living space and my soul– because if either are too full of the past, there is no room to take in memories and treasures from the present or the future.
Though this is certainly not what Christ was speaking of, these words run parallel to this theme: “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.”
I don’t believe that Christ requires that we be ascetic or gnostic, believing that the physical is evil or meaningless. But I also know he doesn’t want us to be materialistic or overly retrospective. We must live somewhere in the middle ground and remember that Christ is our true treasure— and that in the end, all these things will fade and merge into the glory of God. And as Rich Mullins sings in “Elijah”:
“When I look back on the stars.
It’ll be like a candlelight in Central Park.
And it won’t break my heart to say goodbye.”