Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tapestry of Memories

"The time that passes, the roads taken and made
Grudgingly abated, the memories of olden days
Cast before us now the worn tapestry of time
A diagram of choices, of weeks and years gone by…."
By P.M. Linnet 2003. Tapestry of Memories; Winds of Time

It was one of those morning when my mind took a trip of its own to the land of imagination where dreams are inspired. I was sitting on the edge of the bathtub —my usual spot for musing, meditating, dreaming and thinking — many ideas for writing have been conceived at this spot.

This one line of a song nagged me from the deep recesses of my mind. Like a string of thread peeking out of a tapestry, I tugged at it pondering:

"What was this one line playing in my head?"

At first it was unyielding.  After a while, it yielded and I began to pull out the string, line after line until I got the whole stanza.

I ran into my room, grabbed a piece of paper and pen, and wrote it down before it disappeared back into the oblivion. It was a special rendition by the Choir of the Methodist Church, Olowogbowo, Lagos possibly in 1975 or 1976. I was amazed I could recall this song in particular more than 35 years after I listened to it. I don’t know what triggered the recall but it was sitting there all this while.

My father later confirmed that it was a song rendered during the harvest thanksgiving service of that year and he also was shocked that I remembered the song in Yoruba.

Ọbagiji, awa tun de
Pelu iyin
Fun ore Rẹ igba gbogbo
Awa s' ọpe Baba rere

Wa gba 'yin gb'ọpe wa,
Edumare gba ọpe wa
Oyigiyigi Ẹ de o, 
dakun gbẹbẹ wa.

Below is a rough translation:

Almighty God, we give thanks,
we rejoice and jubilate
For Your goodness poured on us all the time
We are grateful, our Good Father.

Come and accept our praise and thanksgiving
Gracious Lord, accept our thanks offering
We have come, our heavenly Father,
We implore You, accept our petition

About a year later, I found another string of thread peeking at me from the tapestry. I tugged at it and found it was another rendition from the same Choir during the same time period. It was another song of praise, exalting God and declaring that we will prostrate before Him and join our voices with the host of heaven to praise Him.

It was again interesting how well I eventually recall this one stanza of the song without having any contact with it for over three decades.

A few days ago, I woke up with the first line of a hymn playing in my heart. I thought it was 'King of kings and Lord of lords, I will praise You.' I searched for it on Google but what I found was not what was playing in my head. This hymn latched on to my heart. The more I tugged at the string of memory peeking out of the tapestry, the more I remembered and could hum the stanza, but still I did not get the words until suddenly, "Seven whole days and not one in seven, I will praise Thee" flashed through my mind. I searched for it and found the song at last. The first line was actually - "King of glory, King of Peace, I will love Thee." I sang it over and over again, and was truly elated in the presence of God that morning.

The common factor among these songs was that they were deposited in my memory a long time ago when I was a child growing up in the Methodist Church. It was there, and during my secondary school days, that I grew to appreciate Hymns.

These songs and hymns unplugged a cascade of memories and made me to realize how music has been intricately woven into the tapestry of my memories. It also made me to appreciate the incredible ability of music to conjure up memories - some pleasant and some not so pleasant.

I took a closer look at the tapestry woven of my memories and I noted some dark spots in it, consequent of  some wrong choices I made decades ago. I recalled that time of my life when so intoxicated with the freedom of being on my own at the University, I became exposed to "unwholesome songs and music" while darting like a bee from party to party. I recalled how much praying and efforts it had taken to override those spots each time they try to play back. Believe me, these ones are not difficult to recall at all!

Last Sunday, my Pastor asked, "What kind of music are your children listening to?"

Like a strong wind, this question blew at my tapestry of memories causing again a cascade of memories.

I pondered on that question for quite a while. With headphones rammed over their heads and earphones jammed into their ears, what kind of songs are they listening to? Songs which gratify the physical senses or songs with rich messages and those glorifying God?

Each tapestry if hung out to the public eye tells its unique story. Every passing moment of our lives with its unique experiences become like a thread  skilfully woven into the tapestry of our memories. What unique story will the tapestry of our children's memories tell?

What is being deposited and woven into the tapestry of their memories today which will come back to them decades down the road? It is not only through music but also through what they watch and read. I still recall vividly some of the bedtime stories my mother read to me as a child.

Are we paying attention to be watchful of this detail?

As adults, are we also selective about we listen to or watch or read?

The flip side of the story which gives me much joy is that when we do our bit as God commanded Abraham in Gen. 18:19, to teach and direct our children to keep the way of the Lord and we use every opportunity to impress it upon their hearts (Deut 6:7), we can be assured that by the power of the Holy Spirit at work in them, these seeds deposited in them will yield good fruits.

What Timothy learnt at home from his mother and grandmother made a difference to his life (2Tim 1:5).  It gladdens my heart that the truth, which our children learn at home will always be with them and at the right time, when most needed, the Holy Spirit will bring it to their remembrance.

Ultimately, when time has passed, the tapestry of our memories will reflect the diagram of the choices we made, decades gone by. Let's take heed to be watchful over these choices in our lives and in the lives of our children.

King of Glory, King of Peace

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