This week is one of my favorite weeks of the year. It’s not just because it’s October, or because the leaves are turning incredible shades of orange and an impossibly beautiful red. It’s not because Pumpkin Spiced Lattes are in full swing, or because it’s starting to get cold enough in the south to drink a Pumpkin Spiced Latte without sweating. It’s because this week two years ago is the week Carl and I started dating.
More acutely than any other time in the year, I can remember the way it felt, the way he smelled, the songs we listened to in the car, what we talked about on our dates. I remember small things like what we ate, and what the trees looked like, and the excitement that bubbled over when I saw his name pop up on my phone.
Have you ever had a season like this? Maybe it’s a day or a week or a month, but something about that time brings back memories of a moment in the past more than any other time of the year. I love times like this because I think we need them.
Life feels scary sometimes. It feels wild and unpredictable. It can feel like being tossed around by the waves, out of control and wondering when it’s going to stop. It’s easy to feel like there’s not a rhyme or reason, or to wonder if things really are going to be okay.
But this is why I love seasons that help us look back, because they give us perspective we don’t normally have. They give us the ability to see how things were and to remember them clearly, and the perspective to marvel at how things turned out.
There are some seasons we don’t want to remember, certainly. Christmas this year may sting like it never has before, each anniversary marking another year you’ve lived without them. While writing my book, I’ve been reliving a season of my life that was more painful than any other. But I think whether good or bad, it’s important to soak in the seasons that bring back memories, because it helps us see today differently.
When painful anniversaries come around, we’re able to see how much we’ve grown since this time last year, how much has changed, how much of God’s faithfulness we’ve been able to see even in the midst of the brokenness. While looking back at that season of my life is painful, it’s also incredible to see what God has done since.
The same is true for good memories as well. Remembering something wonderful reminds us how good God is, that He has a plan, that it really might all turn out okay.
This week reminds me of how instantly I liked Carl, how captivated I was by him, how hopeful I was for what our relationship could turn into. Remembering our first few dates reminds me of how amazing this story is, how unexpected it was, how it has surpassed all of my wildest dreams. It reminds me that there’s a God who’s in control, who has tricks and gifts up His sleeve. And it reminds me to hope for them, knowing I didn’t see Carl coming, and knowing that God still has so much to surprise me with.
We need to look back and remember where we came from so we can marvel at where we are today. We need to remember how hard something was or what we never saw coming to remember that life is unpredictable, wildly, thrillingly so. It reminds us to keep our minds open, and our hope alive, to keep our eyes peeled for the next wonderful thing, God’s goodness that shows up like clockwork in every season.
Do you have seasons that help you remember? How do they help you live differently today?