For example, my roommate and I combined these ingredients to cook up dozens of golden memories at the year’s beginning. We went stargazing in the front yard, rated sunsets from the local pier, and pooled our snack stashes for movie nights. One time, we even spent a whole day of “subway hopping,” riding a distant city’s entire train line and disembarking at every station to snap a picture.
Then, later in the summer, my dad and I mixed some memory-making ingredients by assigning ourselves a mission to explore as many new lakes as possible by kayak. We toured small towns wherever we found them along the way, following curvy backroads and discovering country stores which Norman Rockwell could have painted. Always, we’d be certain to nab some chocolate for the road.
Another summer night, when the weather forecast predicted a meteorite shower, my whole family and whatever guests were present popped popcorn, bundled up, and drove towards the country. We eventually pulled over by a grassy ditch, where we stretched out a blanket to enjoy the show. Between all the clouds and light pollution, we only saw about three stars — but we were laughing so hard that it really didn’t matter.
My [favorite] triple-ingredient memory of all, however, might just be the night a few friends and I arrived late at my house after a camp event. Instead of just crashing in the basement, we agreed it would be way more interesting to sleep on the garage roof. So, armed with blankets, pillows, a ladder, and nachos, we sneaked atop the garage, enjoyed a rooftop nacho party at midnight, and slept soundly until squirrels started pelting pinecones down from their nests at 6:00 a.m.
Three NON-essentials for Great Memories:
Interestingly, these golden memories had three other things in common too — or rather, they didn’t have three things. First, none of the memories I just mentioned required much money — just a little creativity. No one, after all, needs to buy a national park pass to camp on a roof. Meteorite showers don’t charge admission. And even when other great medicines bear a sickening price tag, laughter is free.
Second, I’ll gently point out that, except for some travel highlights and outdoor textbook reading, none of the memories I’ve listed wound up on social media. Social media can be a great tool to digitally scrapbook our memories and inspire others to create their own. But, at least in my experience, it can also become a trap for unhealthy self-glorification, false image cultivation, and social comparison. Furthermore, social media attention can too-easily become our focus for making memories. In the past, for instance, I’ve caught myself living in the middle of a great memory while thinking only about how to best frame it for social media. I’m not at all condemning posting great memories online — especially because I do it too! But it’s nice to go out and make memories WITH people we like rather than FOR people to “like.”
Third, few of the memories I’ve mentioned involved ‘glamourous’ experiences, like distant travel. While I did rally hundreds of incredible memories after starting my DIY missions/blogging trip, all the moments I wrote down from everyday life beforehand were enough to fill my 1000 memories quota three months early. My 1000th memory, in fact, ended up being one of my usual Sunday morning walks up a local hill on the day before I left for my global backpacking mission.
Now, at the end of the year, that number has grown to total 1541 memories.
Those are 1541 reasons to be thankful.
1541 reasons to smile.
1541 reasons to praise God for His faithfulness, through the hard moments and the good.
The Meaning of Memories:
The point that memories are reasons to worship is so important because, in all this memory-making business, there lurks a certain danger. That’s the temptation to start living for earthly memories, pouring forth our lives to advance a bucket list which will pass away when we do, rather than to advance the everlasting kingdom of God. To live in pursuit of experiences that make us happy is to miss the grand, eternal purpose for which we were created.
Making feel-good memories is not the ultimate goal of life. Glorifying God with all our lives, resources, and beings, walking with God and bringing others along — that’s life’s ultimate goal.
But what if we could glorify God by making memories? What if we recognized those memories as reasons to rejoice in His goodness, to be thankful, and to bless His name? What if the moments when we noticed life’s little wonders became moments of worship? Imagine the ways we could bless people by putting novel twists on normal life. Think of how spending quality time with others might translate to better loving, serving and appreciating the people around us.
Imagine the value of 365 days filled with those kinds of moments!
Maybe a year like that would be worth a million dollars.
Or maybe, it would be priceless.