Remember

As I’m reading about the Book of Revelation this morning, this word keeps creeping into my thoughts so that I can’t quite focus on the text before me. Remember. It’s a word that echoed in my heart and mind all week as I hiked through the amazingly beautiful Yosemite National Park with my dear friend Kasey.

From the top of Upper Yosemite Falls

Kasey and I met 10 years ago when we were thrown together as fellow interns in the United Church of Christ Volunteer Ministry program Faithful Advocates Serving Together. We spent eight weeks together in the tiny town of Martin, Kentucky where the coal mines had long since closed and the community struggled to survive. We were there to partner with the Low Income Housing Coalition toward their mission of providing affordable housing. As interns, we hosted eight different mission groups from many churches (often there were two or three churches in one week) with 50+ volunteers dispatched to different worksites. Each week, we pulled them off the worksite for one full day to talk about economic justice. That summer, Kasey and I lived on top of each other in this tiny one-bedroom apartment down the hall from some Mormon missionaries. (We learned a lot about the Mormons that summer.) On our days off, we went on crazy road trips to learn everything that we could about coal mining and its impact upon the area. Last week, on top of waterfalls in a national park, we laughed at these memories. It was a strange time. It was a wonderful time — and neither one of us would have ever imagined how it might have changed us. Kasey would join the Peace Corps and later work for the Red Cross. I would go onto seminary in the fierce hope that I could somehow help to end poverty. (I haven’t given up on that dream.)

Here we are at Tunnel View

Remember. There was a moment on our last hike — the one that seemed like it would never end — when Kasey turned toward me to say, “I love being your friend.” She went on to explain how our friendship is really quite unique. I laughed and told her that I never, ever would have believed it if I had been told that we would be this close 10 years after Martin. I never would have thought we would have gone on this adventure together. But, it was natural and easy and so, so wonderful. And so, that word keeps popping up: Remember. It’s what God tells us to do after the Exodus and what we ask God to do every time we fear we’ve been forgotten. Remember.

After this particular vacation, with this particular friend of 10 years, I want to remember what this feels like. To remember what I look like in the eyes of an old friend. To remember the dreams that I still have and refuse to give up on. To remember that not that much has changed from who I was 10 years ago. My laugh is still as loud. My determination is just as fierce. My desire for justice has never abated. My love of my friends has always kept me sane. I want to remember all of that. Every day.

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