Rejoice in the LORD, you righteous, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. (Psalms 97:12 NKJV)
In life milestones present themselves unexpectedly. They become etched in our memories quickly and are removed slowly. There are things we struggle to remember. Fond memories often slip from our grasp as we find ourselves playing out bad memories over and over. Some, usually unexpected, are a mixture of joy and sadness with the emphasis on the joy.
It all started on the first of April. In the midst of a day for fools and pranksters we decided to hold a Mexican Food celebration with friends. The planning went on for weeks. Folks were invited, schedules were checked and plans put into place. We all looked forward to a fun evening as the days passed by slowly. To make things more festive we would celebrate the birthday of a friend.
Beth spent the day getting our little apartment ready. She made a special trip, on public transport, into Vienna to a special shop just to get the right fixings. She came home and started to work. She prepared taco salad, chips and salsa, refried beans and cheese. R brought his homemade enchiladas. We were excited about these fat, tasty, chicken filled, delights. Our previous dinner with these delights was a good memory. The oven was hot, things were cooking or warming up as everyone finally arrived. I remember the enticing smell emanating from the kitchen.
It was a great south-of-the-border feast. Laughter erupted often as we talked about a variety of subjects in a variety of mixed languages. We piled our plates high with all the goodies. We savored every chip, enchilada, salad, and bean. To say we were full after the first tray of enchiladas would be an understatement. We were stuffed. I remember feeling like a turkey on Thanksgiving Day.
I can’t remember the gamut of topics we covered from the spiritual to the mundane. From raising children to raising Cain we talked about whatever came to mind. Sign language (wild hand gestures) and multi-interpretations helped span the gap to cross multiple languages. Lots of memories were created in our joyous banter.
After our dinner settled a bit Beth announced we had dessert. Since we were also celebrating C’s birthday a cake was brought out. The lemon cake with lemon icing looked delicious. In fact, it was delicious. All that sweet, with a touch of lemon, was something to remember.
We continued to chat, laugh, and enjoy the evening when we heard a loud bang. We all stopped talking. We looked at each other wondering what was wrong. Then Beth said, “Oh oh,” and got up. She headed to the kitchen. There was a groan as she found the source of the big bang. There were no theories about this, the Pyrex dish, containing the next batch of enchiladas, had exploded!
The dish was on top of the oven. Unfortunately, the oven burner was not complete off and had headed the dish continually the last few hours. Did you know that Pyrex explodes when it gets too hot? We know that now.
There was enchilada everywhere. The unexpected explosion tossed chicken, cheese, and sauce up the wall behind the stove. It projected the contents across the kitchen to the other counter and wall. Pieces of Pyrex glass spotted the kitchen floor from end to end and out the door into the hallway.
After shaking our heads over the damage, we remembered the enchiladas. I’m not sure which was the greater loss, the dish or the enchiladas. They were great enchiladas! C said she would definitely remember this birthday celebration. I don’t remember pyrotechnics being part of the celebration planning but we had them. And we’ll definitely remember that night. We’ll laughed about the unexpected fireworks and cried over the loss of the enchiladas.
As Christians, we remember many things as God leads us through life. Some are good memories and some are bad. Some are a mixture of both. I’m reminded of the Psalmist who calls us to remember, rejoice, and give thanks for the name of the Lord. It might be time for me to look back on my memories and recall the good things, not just the bad. In those memories, I’m reminded over and over of God’s care, grace and love.