“You don’t know what you are asking of me! You want just three? THREE!?! Really? The most memorable? There are so many.”

I lean over and grab a file poking a little further out of the mental shelf. I hold it up shaking it. “See this file. This is just from my Freshman year of college and you want me to break down the most memorable moments… EVER?”

I disappear down the aisle labeled The Younger Years. File folders, video tapes, cassettes.. no DVD’s or CD’s down these aisles. Knick knacks are here and there. Teddy with one pale eye and one black is hanging out on one of the shelves. I’ll know it when I see it. Ah! There it is. My pink Precious Moments Bible with my name and a lamb on the front. I open it up to John Chapter 3.

On The Wings of a Dove

I had finally done it. My eyes were closed along with the rest of the Vacation Bible kids and I had raised my hands. I wanted to know Jesus. After the prayer was over, the kids who hadn’t raised their hands were herded out of the church. Miss Lynn came and sat next to me in the wooden pew and asked me if I would like to know about Jesus and told me how brave I was for raising my hand. She read from the Bible and showed me the scriptures of God’s Promise and Jesus’ sacrifice for me and the rest of world. I was so young and it was a lot to take in but I remembered John 3:16 from Sunday school. The big wooden cross that hung above the baptismal area seemed to glow a little brighter.She asked me if I understood and I shook my little head. With a smile, she said that we should pray and we scooted out of the pew and knelt on the floor. I laid my elbows on the red fabric of the cushion on the pew and brought my hands together like her. I closed my eyes and we prayed.We asked for forgiveness. We thanked the Lord. We asked for his blessing over me. With an AMEN, I felt God’s Love.

Closing the Bible, I set it back on the shelf. Now I have to look for the second Moment. I think I know where to look for this one. “It’s not going to be my favorite.” I say. It will make me sad, but it’s important. There is an aisle labeled hobbies. “You wouldn’t think it would be down this aisle, but it is.” There is a copy of a poem on the wall, I wrote years ago. An old fishing pole is propped up in the corner. Shoe boxes and books scattered everywhere.

“I really should organize this better, but I’m always digging through it for something else I need.” I say over my shoulder as I start looking through some shoe boxes. Then I see it. A red folder with not much in it which would probably not mean much to anyone else but I know what’s in it. I open the folder and there is a copy of I’ll Fly Away, Where the Roses Never Fade, On the Wings of a Dove, and some seeds of a flower my Great Grandmother had scattered around a local pond. Memories float up like fire flies, but I grab the one of the brightest and music starts to play.

Where the Roses Never Fade

A two hour car ride down to the final resting place. I have on the same blouse as I have worn to the others. It has become a part of these kinds of days. It’s so hard to say goodbye. I didn’t really get to. I came back and you had already flown away. You are the last of the Greats that I got to know. Ladies were first. Both of my Great Grandmothers left this earth and then Great Granddad left. You, Great Grandpa, were the last to go and it hurts so much more. I feel like a chapter has ended. I’m not ready for change.
 We all gather under the tent. Hickory has his arm around me and holds me close. I have cried until my eyes have gotten puffy but luckily I didn’t go into quite the hysterics like I did with Great Granddad. The pain is still the same though.
 We pray. They lower the casket. Like my Mother has allowed my sister and I to always do, we pick a couple of the roses from the arrangements. We can’t have our Great Grandparents back but we can hold on to the roses until they fade. We sing I’ll Fly Away and a slight breeze carries the tune over the cemetery. Goodbye for now, but not forever.

I let go of the memory and watch as it and the rest of the fireflies fly up into the rafters to be replaced by a sprinkling of rain. I stare at the wet spots on my shirt where it has made it darker in places. Sigh… Every storm runs out of rain, and then the flowers can bloom again another season. It’s a sad memory and one that still clings to me. Things have changed, but not all change it bad. “I’ve got one more to find for you.” I say and close the folder.

Back out of the aisle and into the hall. Again I talk aloud. “Now these memories seem like days ago, but this one feels like minutes. “Hard to believe it was back in…” There it is. “2010.” I walk right up shelf with the big W on the side. OSU orange and OU crimson patches on a quilt reside on one of the shelves but I reach past that for the photo album by the patent leather black and white boots and flip to the page I want. The whole room goes dark and I hear a machine start clicking real fast and a bright light comes on like a train is coming through. I turn my head and I’m transported…

Your Love is Extravagant

Dressed in white, we stand hand in hand. I look up into Hickory’s eyes and smile. My friend sings Casting Crowns on the steps while a guitar is being played.
 Our families are now our family. Moms and Grandparents lit my path and Daddy walked me down the aisle and now I have made a promise to this man. I love him so much and he must love me so much too, because he has also made a promise.
 The cross behind us seems to be glowing brighter.There are no words needed. This moment is je ne sais quoi. It’s intimate. It’s powerful. It’s the beginning of a brand new chapter.

A flash of a camera and all goes black. I hold the picture from the moment. “I could shut my eyes and live in that last moment forever. The happiness and joy of it all… But our love has grown.” I close the album and head back for the main desk to turn off the lamp. “Can’t stay in here too long. I’ve got plenty of other memories to make.”

With a wink and a smile…