When my husband Gene died of COVID during the peak of the pandemic, before vaccines and boosters, he left me with about 120 bankers boxes of files to sort. These boxes held an amazing variety of items, including my husband’s notes on calculus – from when he first took the class as a high school student. (Mind you, Gene taught calculus on the college level and could have written a textbook on the subject.) The boxes also revealed a ghoulish pair of earrings that my mother made for a Halloween party, earrings made out of my older brother’s wisdom teeth. Not exactly a family heirloom!
These items were quickly tossed aside. But other boxes required more careful examination. Long ago, college student ID numbers were their Social Security numbers. I had to cull out and shred any paperwork that listed that precious information.
Fast forward two years. I am down to the last two boxes. These are full of old letters from close family and friends. I have spent incredible evenings rereading each letter and renewing friendships with people I knew fifty years ago, including one dear friend in Australia. Amada and I last saw each other when we were in our 30’s. What a delight to visit over Zoom recently and see each other now as grandmothers!
In another file envelope, I found letters to my parents when I was working in Mexico. Rereading these was like revisiting life in my 20’s. What did my mother think learning about my exploits in jungle training camp where a galloping horse tossed me off its back, a dugout canoe threw me into a raging river as we headed through 22 sets of rapids, or I hiked 25 miles in a single day?
But the biggest take away from all this sorting has been the joy of seeing God’s perfect faithfulness down through the years. He has guided, protected, comforted me all along my journey. Deuteronomy 8:2 tells us, “Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands.” Thank you, Gene, for the memories.