Over the Christmas break I began to sort through my mom’s old recipe boxes. My mom developed many of her own recipes, but also clipped some from magazines and wrote down ones that she had received from friends. My mom, unlike me, had very good handwriting and wrote everything in cursive. Many of the recipes came with a story of how she got it and it was kind of like reading through a diary. In the midst of clippings and recipe cards, I ran across letters from people. These letters would contain a recipe but also talk about how that person’s family was doing and ask about our family. I recognized the names; some of them were extended family, some were friends but they all brought back memories. Most of the people like my mom are now gone, but they live on through their food. I cooked German pancakes over break using my mom’s recipe. I remember eating them as a kid and was happy that my kids loved them as well. When I shared that over Facebook, many of my family members began to share stories about how they all loved the recipe and how they had added stuff to it through the years. We all connected again through food.
As we look back over the past year we all no doubt have many good memories but also many bad memories. 2018 was a year of loss for me. My mother and her best friend, who was like a second mother to me, passed away both at the age of 89. They are buried within 20 yards of each other in Missoula, Montana. I struggle with their loss, I miss them. They were great cooks. Whenever I eat spaghetti or any type of pasta I think of my red haired Italian friend Gracie and whenever I eat German pancakes or Finnish pasties I think of my mom. It was also a year of good memories, our family had a great vacation out west this summer. We had some adventures as a family doing things with relatives that we will never forget. 2018 is now behind us, it is just a memory. It is a memory that we keep in our hearts though. It is a memory that helps us as we move forward into 2019.
We need to take the good and leave the bad from 2018 and move into the future. We don’t know what the future holds but we do know who holds the future. The people from our memories are now with Jesus in his kingdom. We also are with Jesus in the here and now in a different way. While we remember the past we cannot become a prisoner of it. Life is lived looking forward not backward. Therefore we take the things that we have learned, the recipes, the experiences and we add to them. We improve the recipes, we make new ones. We make memories for the generations that follow to look back on. What are they going to remember about us, what are they going to learn from us, how are they going to improve on what we accomplish for Christ? There is a time for reading history, and having memories and there is a time for creating history and making memories. We look forward to 2019 as a year in the Lord where he continues to provide us with his grace and forgiveness and everything else we need for this life. In that knowledge we in the words of Paul rejoice in the Lord.