Most people start the season by putting up the Christmas tree, but this year I started by putting out the Christmas China. As I put each piece in its place, I enjoy remembering the friends and family who added to my collection and the many meals we enjoyed together. I can remember where we were, how I felt, the conversations and the weather at the time, but I have to work hard to remember what year it was, how old I was, or how old my children were at the time.
Oh, what I remember and what I forget!
You see, my mind is a huge organized vault of information and memories I thoroughly enjoy rummaging through, but sometimes I forget the combination. It is randomly quick and slow, satisfying and equally frustrating what I remember and what I forget. Don't jump to the conclusion it is a sign of my advancing age. I have a great memory, but it has always been kinda of quirky like that.
I must admit my eagerness to pull out the Christmas china was all about what I remember and what I forget. This time it was remembering whether I did, or did NOT, donate my Gibson pattern to Goodwill. You see I saw four of the Gibson bowls at my local Goodwill store, all priced at a steal - a dollar a piece. I was set to purchase them, but put them back on the shelf because I realized there was a possibility I would be buying back what I may, or may not, have donated - my own beloved Christmas china.
For the past two weeks, I racked my brain. Did I actually give away the Christmas plaid pattern my brother gave me? Why would I do that? Did I lapse into a moment of uncharacteristic minimalism where I would commit to one Christmas pattern? It's not likely, but I simply could NOT recall. Sometimes, I simply forget those incidental decisions within the mental clutter of my inconsistently inconsistent memory retrieval processor.
The memory mystery was finally solved when I unpacked the china keepers to find the Gibson pattern. Whew! No longer anxious I may have given away my china, I became anxious about whether or not the four bowls were still for sale. I put "Goodwill" on my Reminder App then edited the note to read "Check Goodwill for Gibson bowls" to be sure I didn't assume I was to drop off donations then forget about the bowls.
Over the next week or so, Frank and I will pull all the Christmas decorations out of the attic. The plastic tubs full of ornaments, figurines, candles, garland, wreaths, pillows, lights, bows have been stored away for the past eleven months much like my Christmas memories. Like my mind's vault of information and memories, I organized and labelled each tub hoping to make unpacking and decorating as organized as possible. I even took advantage of Pinterest private categories and posted pictures of the decorated mantel, bookshelves and Christmas tree village from last year.
Maybe, this year decorating will only flood my mind with lovely memories of Christmases past instead of overwhelm me with all the little details I struggle to remember but am sure to forget.
And maybe instead of fretting, I can remember to be grateful for what I remember and what I forget.
Thanks to the inconsistently inconsistent memory retrieval processor God gave me, I do forget small stuff, but it graces me with the ability to forget the other stuff that brings me down - regrets, slights and sad times. Most of all, I am so grateful I always remember the people I love, the moments with them I cherish and the love of Jesus who saved me.