I still have fond memories of Silas’s first solo visit with us out here in the country. He was not quite four and stayed three nights alone, no mom and dad to get in the way and spoil the fun! The first morning we had to assure him that walking outside barefoot was not a capital crime, but once his toes hit the cool green grass, he giggled delightedly. “I like bare feet!” he instantly proclaimed, and took off running.
He was used to being inside all day, playing with his Matchbox cars, putting together puzzles, reading books, and watching his “shows,” educational though they might be. Yet he found out there were a lot of fun things to do outside, especially when you have five acres to romp around in instead of a postage stamp-sized yard. That’s all they give you in the city these days.
He and Granddad whacked the enemy weeds with green limb “swords.” They pulled the garden cart up the rise to the carport and rode it down. They dug roads in the sandy driveway and flew paper airplanes in the yard. They played in the hose and threw mud balls at one another. Every night this little guy went to bed far earlier than he usually did at home—it was that or pass out on the couch from exhaustion as we read Bible stories.
My favorite memory is watching him as we walked Chloe every morning. He begged for one of my walking sticks and I adjusted it to his height. Then he ran on ahead, hopping and skipping along, holding granddad’s too-big red baseball cap on his head with one hand so it wouldn’t fall off, the walking stick dangling from the other upraised arm, singing and laughing as he went. That picture of sheer joy will forever be etched in my memory. He may have been too little to remember it himself, but someday I will tell him about it, someday when he needs a reminder of joy at a not so joyous time.
I remember that time nearly every morning when I walk Chloe, especially when we reach the back fence where Silas’s little feet suddenly took off on the straightaway and his laughter reached its peak. And I wonder if God has anything etched in His memory, anything from that time in Eden when everything was perfect and his two children felt joy every day in their surroundings, in each other, and in Him. Surely, the God who knows all has special memories of how it used to be. Can you read the end of Revelation and not think so?
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever, Revelation 22:1-5.
Maybe God has recorded that so we, too, can be reminded not of what we have lost, but of what we have waiting for us. Maybe He put it there for the times when life here is not so joyous, a picture of hope to carry us through. It may not be etched in our memories—not yet—but the fact that He still remembers it and wants it, means someday we won’t have to count on etchings any longer. Some day it will all be real once again.