Posted by: R M White | 02/09/2011

Celebrate the Memories

Memory – it is a beautiful thing when it cooperates. I am so grateful the Father gave us the gift of memories. Granted, at times I find my memory rather faulty – I start up the stairs and come into my room and forget what I came for – have to go back downstairs, retrace my steps and usually it will come to me. Or I am telling someone about someone else and forget a name I know as good as my own. So, that kind of memory is not really where I am headed with this.

The topic of memories came to mind this way: We got the monthly newsletter from dear friends of ours in Port Harcourt, Nigeria and then I wrote back a little encouragement note and then I received another note in reply … and in it were the words “i am off to ukpom this weekend.  each visit reminds me of you all.   the place is full of memories past.” You see, our big kids (theirs and ours) were little kids together – all 4 of ours were a part of the lives of all (well most) of their kids during our 5 years in Nigeria,West Africa.

Cliff and Pam Jarrell came to Africa with a set of plans and God changed their lives with his own plans. Throughout the years their home has over-flown with children who were once abandoned and then found a home with Cliff and Pam. Sometimes up to 21 or 22 kiddos at once – living well under one roof. Pam lost her battle with cancer several years back but Cliff carries on loving and providing for their kids and more have come into the home since her death as well as the older ones gone off to universities and lands far away. Their story is remarkable, really exemplifies ‘loving service’ and another time I plan to highlight them further but for now … memories! I remember Africa.

We have so many fabulous, fun memories with this family in Africa – Ukpom-Abak and Port Harcourt! Holidays spent together – from Halloween to Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. But also, random get-away adventures like beach trips, – oh, those kids were so bold in the water! And then, adventures to the playground in P.H. – talk about filling up a place with laughter and squealing! And then a couple of times to Chi and ‘Susana Home’ – she’s another story for another time but the Jarrell kids knew how to love others like nobody’s business so they adored going to serve and be a part of special days at Auntie Chi’s! And just hanging out in each other’s homes – we’d take their teens into our house for as long as they would/could stay. There was always cooking and caring for the littlest ones that took up time but even with all the busyness there was laughter and joy. Such wild abandon but unbelievable organization to see that all bellies were full and clothes were on! With all these bodies around there was generally a child in a lap with a book in hand or ready to sing. Sing… wow, the children could sing – like angels, once lost, who had found their way to the feet of the Father! They each found kindness personified when they were welcomed into the Jarrell family.

My memories are unique, totally my own. That’s one of the parts of this blessed gift. So, our times with the Jarrell’s are remembered differently for me than my husband or kiddos – I was mainly with Pam and I rejoice for those times we had. She was amazing to watch in action!

And I know, I know memories, for all of us, can definitely be a ‘blessing or a curse’. Pretty much though, for being considered a ‘curse’ I believe memories can be given a bum deal. You see, even though many of us may have a load of negative, traumatic baggage to carry around I am also convinced this baggage, when recognized, can also be re-designed as a unique gift and turned into luggage fit for royalty. Yep, your bad, ugly memories can become your own ‘designer luggage’ and this luggage won’t ever get lost. What you do is take the bad stuff and reap what good you can from it – lessons learned in order to live better tomorrow and lend a helping hand to those who might benefit.

Today I have celebrated memories. I actually have a good assortment of pictures from some of these times but some are in storage still and the ones I found today were going to be scanned and posted with this note and our scanner won’t scan. I think I will take a picture of these pictures. Oh, well. My point is, I hope you celebrate your memories – from this person and that, from here and there – oh, these memories are worth the reminiscing. We are molded and shaped by what we have gone through in life – and it is a good thing, every so often to stop and celebrate who you are by remembering the remarkable people from days gone by.

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Memories.

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Responses

  1. I dreamed we were back in Nigeria last night and I was at home (which wasn’t our house but some weird thing with lofts and tiny rooms) and I woke up from a nap and everyone had gone to Abak and I was mad no one woke me up to go with them…but you reminded me I had to take care of the babies and then you went to the market and all these Spanish kids came to play. haha I think the last part was from our phone call yesterday.
    Anyway…I love our Nigeria memories and hope we can all go back for a visit someday.


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