Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"Simba, you have forgotten me..."

I guess nostalgia is just inevitable sometimes.

Among many other things, I love Global Village in the evening.  It's slow, calm, peaceful.  Being here this time of day reminds me of when I first found out about this lovely Raleigh coffeeshop.  It was my freshman year, and since I lived so far from here (west campus seemed miles away as a freshman) I wouldn't come by until the evenings, when I had a time to settle in for a while.  Although I only cam a few times--mostly to study, just before spring finals--I managed to get hooked.

And here I am, retreating again. Four years removed from my first visit, you can definitely life has changed.  Ugh, I hate cliches.   Someone cue Vitamin C.

Don't get me wrong, though--all of this nostalgia has been very real in my mind over the past few weeks.  I'm in the middle of planning a few parting words for InterVarsity this week, so I've gone through the joys and pains of looking back.  Although there isn't too much pain and the stories are mostly good, y'all know how I can ramble, so I'll spare you.  For now, at least.  Aside from the stories, though, I'm really interested in the feelings themselves that are associated with nostalgia.  They have this mysterious power that just amazes me.  In the same moment, I could remember two separate moments from the past year that would just rip my heart in opposite directions of emotion.  The overwhelming joy and love from fall break, for example, is immediately forgotten when the thought of a lonely night in fear and doubt comes back to my memory.

I've been thinking a whole lot about the idea of  "remembering" this school year.  It started last summer as I read through Exodus, and saw the Israelites fail to remember, time and again, who God was and what He had done.  Looking back to those Old Testament stories, it's so easy to wish that someone had just jerked them by the shoulders and reminded them of these things, and all would have been well.  Then, I allow God's word that moment of silence to sink in (if only I had kept reading!) and I realize that I am an Israelite by forgetting these very things in my own life.  Obviously I'm not an Israelite, but it looked better in bold than anything else I typed out.

Sometimes it feels so silly once you reach that moment of clarity.  How can we ever forget something, someone, so eternal?  I mean, if we go by His creation alone, we are literally surrounded by the proclamation of who He is.  Romans 1:20 says this exactly.  Nonetheless, we forget.  I forget. 

I've been trying out a few things to avoid this forgetfulness.  I guess you could call them disciplines.  The three things on which I've focused have actually helped me out a great deal, and maybe they can help you if you've found yourself in a similar place.  Actually, I'm pretty sure they'd help regardless.  1) memorizing scripture has been the single-most effective way to surround myself constantly with God's word.  It sounds archaic and Sunday school-ish, but I would really recommend this.  Start with Romans 1:20 and remind yourself that God created everything around you.  I'll even give it to you here so you don't have any excuse. "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." 

So far, I haven't memorized a whole lot of verses, but that's when 2) putting scripture on the walls of my house  has been crucial.  Now to be honest, for me this seemed like a really girly thing to do at first.  That's really sexist, I know, but it just isn't part of the male gender stereotype to leave encouraging notes around the house.  That said, this simple thing has been so uplifting.  I don't care what you use, or where you put it, but give it a shot.  My roommates use mirror markers in their bathroom, which is pretty smart and perhaps indicting of a culture that looks at its reflection so often.  I personally use a sharpie on a piece of cardboard.  It's not fancy or artsy, but it's Truth.

Lastly, I've fought against my laziness to try and get back into 3) journaling.  I guess blogging counts toward that goal, too.  Lately I have just been so undisciplined about taking time to sit and think with my full attention toward God.  Even my prayers have been rushed and pretty shallow.  Making myself write has helped out a little bit in this regard, because it makes me get real about what I'm thinking.  Especially on here, with the chance of people actually reading those thoughts.

That said, thanks for making it this far in the post.  We're almost done, and please know that you've been a part of helping me remember who God is and what He's done.

Actually, I guess we're done now.  I'm finishing this post reaffirmed in the Truth, and that is such, such a fulfilling place to be.  I hope all's well for you.  And if you're in college, keep working hard--almost done!