My Mum, spitting out bits of confetti, June 1964
Before the Rotorua marathon, I spent a couple of days at Mum and Dad's in Cambridge, de-cluttering their books prior to them moving to Napier and a more suitable mode of accommodation. I also caught up with my brother there, and we made excellent real estate plans on their behalf. So we achieved a good deal.
One other thing I managed was locating some digital files on their now unused computer, with lots of family pictures converted from slide format a few years back. Both of my parents are getting very forgetful, so it was difficult to get them to remember the slides were actually digitized, let alone locate the appropriate files.
The old slides are a trove of memories and it did me good to be reminded that my parents were once young, fun loving people who dressed sharply and had a spring in their step. These two, now often distressingly absent-minded, were pretty onto it. My mum was a computer programmer before most people knew what that even was, and my dad a mechanical design draughtsman working for the British Aircraft Corporation on the Concorde. I mainly felt the benefit of this highly mathematical knowledge base when struggling with 6th form trigonometry or algebra (OK I was an art major).
Human memory fades, the strands becoming disconnected and even lost. Documents and photographs remind us of the stories, which fuel our retelling and thanksgiving. Nothing is lost in the memory of God.
We each have a family story, a whakapapa, a lineage - layers of generations contributing to who we are. We also have a family story in God, with scripture to remind us of what and who has gone before us in the story of faith. Romans 8 places those who are led by the Spirit as children of God, even 'co-heirs with Christ' in God.
In wrestling with my parents current predicament, I have been through humour, impatience, grief, shame and anger. Yet now as we make progress for their future, I am reminded by a few old slides of joy, laughter and hope.
In reading scripture as people of faith, and in participating in the worshiping life of the church, we travel similar ground. God journeys with us through dark places but always holds before us a light of hope and a vision of the coming peaceable kingdom, of which we are heirs.