God Beyond My Periphery | My Earliest Remembrances
I have two remembrances that remain from an early age; an age that generally does not produce memories of lasting and vivid quality. The first one must have occurred shortly before I was three.
It was Christmas day at my Grandpa and Grandmother’s house; my Dad’s parents. The space; a living room joined with a dining room, was large, but then again I was small. A host of family was gathered. They were laughing and sitting close together near a Christmas tree trimmed with flecked light from antique ornaments and strands of tinsel, which hung like old growth moss on a fir tree. Then it happened, the remembrance. My Grandmother; Jo Weeda, joined us from the kitchen with a joy and enthusiasm I have been able neither to duplicate nor locate since. Her face beamed with rays of glory shrouded by her thin hair, and her large body moved with jovial anticipation of whatever was about to occur.
I have no further recollection of that day and I am left only to imagine her joy and enthusiasm were in lieu of the celebration of the birth of her Savior, which I guess we were about to participate in. Never-the-less, that remembrance of joy and enthusiasm has since become a marker of heavenly realities that are longed for on this hurtling planet, but remain elusive in the face of brokenness and sin. That joy and enthusiasm, though seemingly idealities here where I abide, are present realities where my Grandmother now abides. That joy and enthusiasm, along with the careening body language, must be akin to that which I will exert upon the appearance of my Savior. I imagine that is why such an odd remembrance has been preserved in my heart.
The second remembrance was from sometime shortly after I was three, though it could have been from when I was four as well, but the age is nary important in respect to the remembrance itself.
My Dad and I were standing together outside near the back of the garage. Behind me several yards was a burning barrel that stood amidst the tall grass where we used to look for Gartner snakes and then run off because we were too chicken to touch them. Behind my Dad was the garden in full harvest, which for some reason, I remember a plane crop dusting for us that day; or some day there about. Between the burning barrel and the garden was a single row of raspberry vines. In front of us was the garage. Off the side of the garage was a small stable for our goat with pallets for walls and an old row boat turned upside-down for a roof. Next to the stable was a compost heap that I remember thinking smelt especially bad that day. Now beyond that, I couldn’t tell you about the weather or what I was wearing or even the words that were exchanged between my Dad and me. But I can tell you that it was there, between wonderful biblical motifs such as fire and sin and growth and vine fruit and a stable and livestock and stench, I prayed with my Dad for Jesus to come into my heart.
I do not remember telling anyone about my decision. I do not remember boasting to my Sunday school teacher or my friends at school. I do not remember telling my brother or sister or mom. Perhaps it was only ever supposed to be kept between my Dad and I and my new Savior. Or perhaps my memory simply fails me because of my youth. Never-the-less, for all I do not remember following the event, I so cherish the remembrance of the event as the launch of a new life that would see many tangled turns.